Hating Dylan Charged In France

Dylan Honored, Then Charged in France:

In November, the French Minister of culture, a political authority, gave Bob Dylan the Legion d’Honneur.

Meanwhile French JUDICIAL authorities filed preliminary charges against Bob Dylan over a 2012 interview in Rolling Stone magazine. In it the singer briskly compared Croatians to Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan.

If Your Thinking Equals Your Singing, You'll Be The Phoenix Of The Hosts Of These Woods...

If Your Thinking Equals Your Singing, You’ll Be The Phoenix Of The Hosts Of These Woods…

[Dylan proudly exhibiting his Legion d’ Honneur below les ors de la République. Culture minister Aurélie Filippetti, an author, on the right.]

Here is the quote, in context:

“Rolling Stone: Do you see any parallels between the 1860s and present-day America?
Mmm, I don’t know how to put it. It’s like . . . the United States burned and destroyed itself for the sake of slavery. The USA wouldn’t give it up. It had to be grinded out. The whole system had to be ripped out with force. A lot of killing. What, like, 500,000 people? A lot of destruction to end slavery. And that’s what it really was all about.

This country is just too fucked up about color. It’s a distraction. People at each other’s throats just because they are of a different color. It’s the height of insanity, and it will hold any nation back – or any neighborhood back. Or any anything back. Blacks know that some whites didn’t want to give up slavery – that if they had their way, they would still be under the yoke, and they can’t pretend they don’t know that. If you got a slave master or Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that. That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the SERBS CAN SENSE CROATIAN BLOOD.

It’s doubtful that America’s ever going to get rid of that stigmatization. It’s a country founded on the backs of slaves. You know what I mean? Because it goes way back. It’s the root cause. If slavery had been given up in a more peaceful way, America would be far ahead today. Whoever invented the idea “lost cause . . . .” There’s nothing heroic about any lost cause. No such thing, though there are people who still believe it.”

What’s up with the “blood” thing, Bob? You can “sense the blood”?

Paris prosecutor’s office spokeswoman Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre said Tuesday the charges of public insult and inciting hate were filed.

I approve.

This is an excellent occasion to teach people about insidious, nefarious tribalism. Of the bloody type.

What Dylan was saying is that long term hatred ought to be respected and used as a justification for trans generational hostility from some  human groups against other human groups. This is the essence of tribal hatred. (Also known as “racism”.)

Implicitly, Dylan approves of it. I don’t. Nor does, rightly, the French Republic.

That’s one of the reasons I am careful to apply the denomination “Nazi” (say), when many would just write “German”. Confusing Nazis and Germans is insufferable: the present German Republic would have been the best ally of the French republic against the Nazis in 1940 (if you will forgive the chronological mishmash).

The charges stemmed from a lawsuit by a Croatian community group in France. A lawyer for the Council of Croats in France (CRICCF), Ivan Jurasinovic, said they are not seeking monetary damages but only want the legendary singer to apologize to the Croatian people.

I would also insist that Dylan recognizes the error of his tribal ways.

“We have nothing against Rolling Stone magazine or Bob Dylan as a singer,” CRICCF spokesperson Vlatko Maric told the Guardian. “[But] you cannot equate Croatian [war] criminals with all Croats.”

One reason why the case was filed in France: the French Republic has ferocious laws punishing hate speech and racist remarks. Other countries (including the USA) have been slowly following suit.

***

Patrice Ayme

***

Notes: 1) Dylan condemns the racist ‘insanity’ (about ‘colour’), indeed, & then he engages in it. That’s classical. That’s always how racism happens. But he’ll repent, once what he did will have been explained to him slowly enough, and with enough authority, so that he can understand the full extent of the horror he engaged in.

2) This psycho behavior not only can happen, but is the main source of racism. After all, the Nazis themselves justified they exterminationist ways, by posing like victims of racial discrimination (from their victims!) that they vigorously condemned.

P/S: Dylan was finally exonerated from the charges in June 2014. No doubt he learned his lesson. This being said, the French Justice system can go bananas, and has gone bananas, about stories of bananas and monkeys, precisely. In France, in a blatant show of discrimination, it is against the law to insult a “ministre en exercice“. That turns those civil servants into masters. See:

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2014/07/17/dont-monkey-around-french-tyrants/

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74 Responses to “Hating Dylan Charged In France”

  1. Dominique Deux Says:

    Note France actually, on the whole, loves Bob Dylan. Also note that the Croatian community (if such a thing exists) has zero electoral weight in France. Yet its representatives were able to file a complaint and be heard in court, which means a state prosecutor found their complaint had substance.

    I used to be astonished and angry, during the golden years of all-out French bashing after Iraq, that the French Embassy or US citizens of French descent took no move to stand up to the egregious abuse heaped on anything French. I was made to understand that a suit would only feed lawyers, and make matters worse, with not a hope of winning in court because there would be no electoral weight (such as that robustly wielded by representatives of African-American, Jewish, Native American or Latino citizens) behind it; and that taking the issue to media in feeding frenzy mode would be exactly like diving into a school of piranhas in feeding frenzy mode.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Yes, Dominique. Americans have obviously deplaced their will-to-hatred against the French. They say things about the French that they would never say about Jews, Arabs, and those most sacred of all cows, the ones defined as “blacks” or “African-Americans” (although many of them are… white)… Although they generally have nothing to do with Africa, at least where it counts, that is, in mentality.

      So what was going on? Americans know it’s safe to insult the French. What they don’t realize, though, is that they keep their racist mentality going on that way. And also their ignorance of history. each time i defended reality about France and the French, I lost the battle as far as Americans are concerned, because they cut me off. Totally.
      PA

  2. hazxan Says:

    I haven’t read the whole interview and I know nothing about Dylans belief, but based solely on the quote here, I just don’t see how your draw the conclusion that he is supporting or “respecting” long term hatred.

    He seems to me to be saying that deep hatreds that come about after atrocities, will not be eliminated “by decree”. They will take more than a few generations. I really can’t stand his music, or his awful nasal whining “singing” voice, but I agree with him on this. And it’s not often people point this stuff out in the media, history is being continually glossed over and reinvented to tell the story today’s powerful people want to tell.

    A shame that amidst the Serbia/Croatia stuff (who knows what the truth is between these 2 nations?), he says something that needs to be said more often and louder : “America was built on the backs of slaves.”.

    Not “freedom”, “enterprise” “the free market”. But slavery. And he could have added “piracy and genocide of the natives”, too .

    Families pass stories down and many of us don’t forget. I carry with me the message from a great grandfather who fought in the first world war under a promise of building a world for heroes. And coming back to less than nothing, I know how badly the working class veterans were treated, even though it was 100 years ago. “Don’t go to war for the rich man” he said, “your own rulers are closer to the rulers of the enemy than they are to the likes of us” And lots more beside…these get past on to my children, too. Just as some elite kids are probably brought up with tales of how “great great uncle Twattington-Smythe killed a fuzzy-wuzzy in the boer war”!

    I imagine many descendants of slaves from not much more than 100 years ago, have such stories passed on to them too. I could be totally wrong, but when I read your excerpt above, *that* is what I think he was getting at.

    Should I make it clear that by pointing this out, i am in no way supporting any atrocities? Perhaps Dylan just didn’t make it clear enough.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      dear Hazxan: At least we agree about his voice! I also agree that the exploitative MENTALITY reigning in the USA is a huge problem, and that the monster hereditary, “blood” based slavery in the USA was a particularly grotesque symptom of it (up there whith the holocausts of the Natives).

      The essence of this is the fact that your ancestry or, as people used to say, “BLOOD”, makes you somehow culprit by birthright. This is exactly what Dylan says. This is the essence of racism, perfectly defined, thanks Bob!

      By making a reasoning about contemporary Croatians in general that uses this essence of racism as a justification for Serb hatred, Dylan engages indeed, in insults of a “racist” type, and incitation to hatred.

      He says it perfectly;
      “If you got a slave master or Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that. That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the SERBS CAN SENSE CROATIAN BLOOD.”

      Europe can only be built by destroying the hatreds of the past. But not just that. By also destroying the respect for “hatred”, “blood”, and justifying hating people because something their ancestors alledgedly did.

      Dylan is culprit of all this.

      The rest of the interview shows that Dylan is incredibly ignorant about roughly anything. He likes Obama because “he dresses well”.
      PA

      • Sallie Reynolds Says:

        Dear Ms. Ayme, I think if you interpret Dylan’s word “blood” as “attitude,” you’ll come close to his meaning. People who have been oppressed can indeed sense long-taught negative or even hateful attitudes. Not by some magic, but by people’s behavior. A person raised in a racist culture is tainted by that racism, even when their feelings and intelligence tell them it is wrong and irrational. In these circumstances, sometimes the oppressed person sees hatred where there are other, complex feelings. I was raised in the racist South in the US, and even as a child, I rejected my white culture’s (and my parents’) attitudes toward blacks. I was surrounded by kind and supportive black people and by cold and hateful whites. When I was 18, I left the area for good. But for decades afterward, I was often uncomfortable around blacks I didn’t know, because of my Southern accent. I was afraid I’d be identified as a racist because of it. It took years for me to let these scenarios play out naturally, in that if a black person, not knowing me, reacted as if I were looking down on them because, I learned that engaging in conversation usually solved the problem.

        You are not a native English speaker, Ms. Ayme, and Dylan was talking to an American reporter in an American magazine, and was not watching his language as well as he might have had the interview been more “international” in scope. You may hate his music and his voice, but take another look at the man. Here in the US, even if we agree with you aesthetically, we know this man’s history as an enemy of oppression, in whatever form he has found it.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Hazxan: BTW, I do not disagree with most of what Dylan said about slavery, and the USa. I have said worse myself. Yet past racism does not justify present and future racism. Be it from Robert Zimmerman (“Bob Dylan”), or Opera Winbillions (Oprah Winfrey) .

  3. Dominique Deux Says:

    Hazxan,

    even after ONE generation, the French weaned themselves from the notion that Germans are Nazis “by blood”. We don’t especially love them but then, we don’t love anybody, including ourselves. Patrice’s point is very well taken. All the huff-and-puff cretins muttering darkly about “the Croatians”, “the Huns”, “da Joods” (my pet peeve Prince Sultan of Saud), or even “the Yanks” or “the rednecks”, are not only braindead but criminal, sowing the seed of future atrocities. They also are fostering, in the targeted communities, a defensive counter-racism which is every bit as silly and destructive.

    When I hear a President’s church leader preaching the eternal hatred of Whitey, or a whole segment of the French electorate venting its bile about Ay-Rabs, all on the basis of long past deeds (if any… I fail to see what black Caribbeans did to those “traditional-minded” parents who taught their kids to throw bananas at a French Cabinet member), I feel the same deep contempt and disgust, and I am relieved that my country’s laws, at least, feel and state the same.

  4. hazxan Says:

    I see where you are coming from, I still don’t see that he is “justifying” it, rather that he is merely “observing” a process. And I think it said that people can’t see that he means “blood” metaphorically, not literally.

    Right at the start he says “People at each other’s throats just because they are of a different color. It’s the height of insanity”. How much clearer could you get? That is NOT justifying racism at all, see “it’s the height of insanity” get it?

    Dominique, you yourself have clearly written “…Germans are Nazis ‘by blood'”. Not they “were”, but still “are”. Your choice of words shows that you have not forgotten, you clearly said that Germans still are Nazis.

    Perhaps you should allow others the same leeway you would expect them to give you? Perhaps it is that slowness to understand and quickness to condemn that also causes hate to prosper?

    Meanwhile, the EEC/US transatlantic corporate control act gathers pace, amongst other far more important things than this irrelevant trivia.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      dear Hazxan: Dominique said that: “the French weaned themselves from the notion that Germans are Nazis “by blood””. That means that they have abandonned that notion.

      Obviously French Justice does not view it as “trivia” (it took a year to ponder and then act). As Dominique said, Dylan is very much liked and revered in France; plus, he just got the Legion d’Honneur.

      Dylan condemns the racist ‘insanity’, indeed, & then he engages in it. That’s classical. That’s always how racism happens. But he’ll repent.

      Dylan clearly identifies the “Croats” versus ‘Serbs’ situation to Nazis versus Jews. That’s not observation, it’s unfounded condemnation (= insult) and incitation to hatred (Nazi homicidal behavior, after all, justified carpet bombing).

      This psycho behavior not only can happen, but is the main source of racism. Some Zionists crossed the same racist line in the Middle East. After all, the Nazis themselves justified they exterminationist ways, by posing like victims of racial discrimination they all vigorously condemned (they even posed as anti-bankers, and anti-“plutocrats”!).

      I am on the record, long long ago to favor a EU-USA Union. I would even welcome the USA to Schengen. However, indeed, everything ought to be on the table. Corporate control ought to be DESTROYED.

      How to get there? Well, time to change the constitutionS. Tinkering with laws will not be enough. Time to go Swiss.
      PA

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      BTW, Hazxan, where was your grandfather from? If I were Dylan, I could judge condemn you accordingly (but I am not, so I won’t!)
      PA

      • Sallie Reynolds Says:

        Ms. Ayme, this has nothing to do with anyone’s name or – directly – with a grandfather. It has everything to do with the attitude toward others that we perceive, often correctly, to be denigrating. Hazxan is pleading for tolerance and understanding. You are condemning even as you say you are not. Why? Is it because he doesn’t agree with you? He misinterpreted Dominique’s sentence about Germans and Nazis. You misinterpreted Dylan’s about “blood.”

        When I walk into a room, I often think I sense an attitude against women from some of the men. I am not always right, but it is human to act on our gut responses. We have learned fear, sometimes the hard way. Fee, fi, fo, fum, I smell the blood of. . . fill in the blank. Dylan’s remarks acknowledge this. And he is saying that cultures that have long indulged in hate and injustice toward a particular group of people have a long way to go before such things can be healed. Reread the parts about what would have happened had slavery ended in this country without bloodshed. So often history hurts.

        In my first letter in this thread, I described myself as white. That wasn’t quite accurate. I am part black, but that part was hidden in our family for generations. I began to suspect it as a child, when I found myself more comfortable with the blacks in the neighborhood than with “my own people.” I learned it surely about three years ago and it made many things clear to me.

        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          Dear Sallie, welcome to the comments. I hope you come back often. This being said, it’s ironical, isn’t, that, on an article on racism, you assert, peremptorily, that I am “not a native speaker of English”. (I did not anticipate that my written expression left so much to be desired! Zehr traurig…)

          So you assert something about my unclear birth and undeclared upbringing, that somehow makes me blind to the fact that when Dylan uses “blood” he truly means “attitude”. Something genuine “native English speakers” are supposed to know: that blood IS attitude? Isn’t it telling?

          Instead I hold that confusing “blood” and “attitude” is the essence of racism, so, from my point of view, Mr. Dylan is not making the mistake by accident.

          When he says that Serbs are correct to “smell” that Croats want to spill their “blood”, Mr. Dylan crosses lines that have been determined, by French Justice, to go in the territory haunted by the Nazis and their collaborators.

          During and after World War Two, France executed 40,000 Nazi collaborators. More than any other country. Why? Because after around 100 million people (latest numbers) got killed in World War Two, including millions in the “French empire”, it was felt that, on this subject, group hatred, one ought to have tolerance zero.

          Mr. Dylan was convoked, and heard by a judge. He was then indicted (“mis en examen”) for “public insults” and “incitation to racial hatred”. Especially against Croats.

          The recent liberation war of the Croatian republic from what was then the Serbian dictatorship, killed around 20,000 people. Does Mr. Dylan deplore this?

          During World War Two, a fascist regime imposed by the Nazis in Croatia killed millions of Serbs, Croats, and many other ethnicities. Is Mr. Dylan claiming Croats living then ought to be identified with those Nazis? Why? How? And does he extend this, mysteriously to present day Croats? But only in appearance because he uses only a special English reserved to an arcane class of “native English speakers”?

          Pardon my nasty tendencies, but I would rather call that native racism.

          Croatia is now a democratic republic member of the European Union. Serbia has applied to the EU, after finding itself led by a dictator (Milankovitch) into war against France (and later NATO and the UN). It’s important and incitation to racial hatred not be tolerated. I fervently hope Mr. Dylan will be condemned.

          The rest of the Rolling Stone interview amply demonstrated that Mr. Dylan knows nought about the world, but is full of attitude, and blood, or whatever. I do esteem his music, too bad for the voice.
          PA

          • Sallie Reynolds Says:

            Well, no, I don’t think I’ll be joining your “discussion” again, Patrice, since because I disagree with you, I am deemed racist. You strike out to hurt when people don’t agree with you on a subject you obviously have strong feelings about. All languages have idioms. Some are odd. There’s an Italian idiom that translates literally means “wolf’s mouth,” and idiomatically means something like “good luck.” So good luck to you. I hope some day you cease ranting long enough to have a real conversation on a ticklish subject!

            • Sallie Reynolds Says:

              SorrY: that should have been “translated literally”

            • Patrice Ayme Says:

              I speak Italian, and studied it formally, BTW.

            • Patrice Ayme Says:

              Dear Sallie: I did not call you a racist. I will not even call Dylan a racist. Dylan just does understand the gravity of what he did. He has to be educated, and, the way one does that, is by engaging in conversation.

              Dylan is having conversations with French judges, and he will have to do “amende honorable”. Anything else would be dishonorable. And I believe mr. Dylan WANTS to be honorable.

              Obama just shook the hand of Raoul Castro. That was good.

              By the way, the word “ranting” is generally considered an insult. I was generous enough to have a real conversation with you, and you tell me that I called you a “racist”, which I did not do. I stick to a mindfullness similar to that of Mandela. I judge ideas, not individuals.

              I hope someday you realized that you cried “racist” just because you started by saying that neither French judges nor myself understand that, for Mr. Dylan, “blood is attitude“.

              But this is precisely what we understand all too well.

              There is nothing “ticklish” about the subject. Many people in my family died from it, after holes were shot through them. Those who cannot talk about it, are generally the racist themselves.

        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          Dear Sally: Go tell French judges that they do not understand language. At your own risk.

          As I said, they already interrogated, in person, Mr. Dylan, and indicted him afterwards. It’s a question of education. Mr. Dylan has to be educated about racism.

          Dylan has to be educated, precisely because he is such a shining beacon. it’s French philosophy against know-nothingness-let’s-keep-the blood-running-the-world

          The racist attitude of the USA is all over. Even in asking what people’s races are. There is no such a thing. A country such as France has been practicing mixing for at least 40,000 years.

          In the 1960s, studies showed that most French were Jews. In the 1970s, it was found that at least a third of France had North African and Arab markers in the “blood” (literally). And so on.

          BTW, by USA standard, Obama is not the first USA president with black African genes.

          Sexism is a bigger problem, especially because it’s not even understood… I will have a piece on that today.
          PA

          • Sallie Reynolds Says:

            Dear Patrice, Thank you for your more reasoned response. Yes, I interpreted your first reply to me as a “rant.” That is to say, “an uncontrolled outpouring of emotion rather than reason.” That’s my opinion, and here I am in America and can have an opinion without fear or favor. So. Here now is my rant:

            I’m replying first of all to your saying that you were not calling me (or Dylan) a racist. And on rereading your prose, I have to disagree. You seem to be a debate expert and get in the digs obliquely. As in, your line: “But only in appearance because he uses only a special English reserved to an arcane class of “native English speakers”? Pardon my nasty tendencies, but I would rather call that native racism.”

            In a debate here, you would be perceived as calling one or both of us racist, but not directly.

            Let’s agree that we will stop the attacks, subtle and otherwise, and try to have an exchange across cultures about ideas and actions that have so much power in the world. (I am looking forward to what you have to say on sexism.) Understanding can go a long way toward creating peace; we ordinary citizens can usually act only on a one-to-one basis, but you have created a forum for exchange of thoughts across oceans and continents. That strikes me as a most valuable thing, and I would like to participate, if you will accept me. The gentleman Hazxan said in his second or third note that he could see your point, but went on to open other avenues on the topic. So far, you have not said to anyone on this thread with whom you disagree that you see their point. You go back into what I interpret as “attack mode.”

            So let me say that while I disagree that Dylan is a racist, I found other things you wrote valuable and interesting, particularly your take on the clashes in Europe. I am sorry your family has suffered in the conflicts. I agree that Obama’s greeting Castro was and is a grand thing. (I am sure he will pay for that dearly in this country!) And to my mind his temporary accord with Iran also great – and he is paying cruelly for that as well.

            When I wrote first, disagreeing with you on Dylan, I explained as background a bit of what experiences I bring to this table. You responded solely to my having said you were not a native English speaker, as if I were insulting you. That was not my intent. I am “an arcane native” teacher of English! Your English is excellent. You argue well in the language (much better than I do), but to a close student of this language, it is clear it not your first tongue.

            My mention of the Italian idiom was merely to point out that it is hard, without first-hand, explicit knowledge, to winkle the meaning out of many idioms in many languages. What does your having studied Italian have to do with this? Were you about to explain the idiom? If so, I’d like to understand it. A strange and seemingly dark saying. In bocca al lupo. Literally, in the mouth of the wolf? Have I got that right? How is this good luck? Irony on ironies.

            Another question: Here in the US, we have not seen any reports, even in European papers, that Dylan was questioned by the French judiciary “in person.” If you have a reference, please let me know.

            I do object to the saying that Dylan “must be taught a lesson.” That is a phrase, if you’ll excuse my arcane-ness, that we use for severely misbehaving children. We don’t teach an adult a lesson, it would be like chiding our grandfather. We punish him through legal means if he has stepped out of line. To punish Dylan, who has used his talents and his financial means to try to solve problems in his country, not exacerbate them. seems bizarre to me. I can’t address European problems, not being there and not having studied them closely. But it seems like a farce to go after Dylan and let people who have shot holes, to use your phrase, in many others, go chided.

            A legal note from this end: In this country, where all these flying words took flight, he has committed no crime. France might more usefully sue the French offices of Rolling Stone for publishing words they interpret as insulting and hate-mongering. But Dylan spoke those words in America, for a basically American publication, where speech of any kind is legal (except for certain forms of libel), even when hearers abhor what is said.

            • Patrice Ayme Says:

              Dear Sally: As I said I judge ideas, not people. I will give my main answer to you in an independent comment, because nestling answers is adverse to understanding.
              There are very strong laws against racial, tribal, religious, etc. hatred in France. The USA, I am happy to report, has followed suit. But France is still in the lead. Glad that my friend Obama is getting more reasonable, especially about Iran (a country where I lived, as I did in Italy).
              PA

  5. Patrice Ayme Says:

    BTW, I know a very young French lady judge who has read me… [Not connected to the case. But still meaning philosophy can have an impact.]
    PA

  6. Alexi Helligar Says:

    I think Patrice’s article is in error with respect to Dylan’s meaning and intent. Also, the conversation becomes muddled when we fail to recognize that we are all to some degree racist. It is a part of our dark human heritage and the best we can do is not deny it in ourselves but cast a light upon it and actively practice to counter its most negative impacts on ourselves and our community.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Alexi: I do not find racism hilarious. First people joke, then people shoot. That’s my experience.

      Not only did many in my family died (several in combat and uniform). But, irony of ironies, I was personally bombed by racial fascists who differed with me about these questions. We have had polite, but apparenly not thorough exchanges, prior to that.

      I do agree that Dylan meant what you described. Most obviously. HOWEVER, that’s not what he said. Considering that Dylan is not you or me, the expression he used can be viewed as supportive of the violent racism and hatred, and he gave them the largest exposure, per the fact that he is who he is.

      It’s important to understand what racism is. Starting with those expressions, and moods which justify group hatred is best.
      PA

  7. Andy Outis Says:

    What cracks me up is that a Rolling Stone reporter asked this question of a 1960’s folk-rock singer in the first place, as if he would be an expert on the subject.

  8. Andy Outis Says:

    No doubt all you say is true, Alexi. There is no doubt that Dylan is one of the most astute observers of the human condition to ever record an album (or twelve). My point is that we often put too much stock in the opinions of entertainers, who often are given a platform that many aren’t, which infers upon them an implied validity. And essays from Patrice.

    • Alexi Helligar Says:

      Alas, the need to have someone to look up to, and to have a king or an idol, or to have some life to celebrate to distract us from the monotony of our own existence is compelling. Those how are influential and have many followers have a certain responsibility. The fact that they are uplifted before the community in the forum is the only validity they often need. Consider Paris Hilton.

      I am a little worried about you, Patrice. Your essays against celebrity types and racism are somehow off the mark. I sense the subject of fame and injustice together touch a deep personal wound in your spirit. There is a bit of wobble, there.

  9. Patrice Ayme Says:

    I just saw the “wobble” remark, Alexi! Excellent, a direct personal attack, it beats tea anytime. I agree with your observation:

    ” Alas, the need to have someone to look up to, and to have a king or an idol, or to have some life to celebrate to distract us from the monotony of our own existence is compelling. Those how are influential and have many followers have a certain responsibility. The fact that they are uplifted before the community in the forum is the only validity they often need. Consider Paris Hilton.”

    We live in a celebrity world. Obama is a celebrity. Buffet, Gates, Jamie Dimon, the 650 representatives of the People of the USA, or the less than 1,000 people of political importance in France, etc., they are all celebrities.

    Clinton made a whole career of being a celebrity. For what? Allowing plutocrats to seize the financial system? Krugman, the most read economist, is also a celebrity (and I am tweaking his mind, and those of other editorialists at the NYT with whom I have contacts).

    So I do not hesitate to engage who, and what are the mover and shakers of ideas. Those are the celebrities. Even Socrates-Plato did this.

    Oprah and Bob are racists in different ways. Oprah is deliberate plutocratic racist, money rules, Ayn rand style, Dylan an unconscious propagator of an error, the sanctification of terror.

    I hope I can make them wobble. I am ready to bet dylan will understand, and Oprah not.

  10. Sallie Reynolds Says:

    Interesting exchanges, all. I would like to understand what Patrice means by “deliberate plutocratic racist, money rules . .. ” as Oprah’s racism. And how is Dylan “an unconscious propagator of an error, the sanctification of terror.” I really don’t understand these, and particularly as “racism.” Oprah’s description seems to fall into the category of perhaps greed (I don’t know Oprah, or what she does in her private and public life). Dylan as a racist I still don’t see. What is the “sanctification of terror?” I hope you will expand on these ideas a bit so that perhaps I can get the point. So far it seems to me to be mere name-calling.

    In this conversation to date, I am most in agreement with Alexi that “To some degree we have all experienced racism and to some degree we all express racism. The least we can do is testify about our experience.” And if in testifying, we are willing to acknowledge the beam in our own eyes rather than always hammering away at the mote in the eyes of others, we may indeed take a step forward.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Sally: Oprah behaves as if her higher money and celebrity power gave her higher rights, especially with Europeans. She is known to have asked stores to open after hours after threatening them with… racism.

      That has led to clashes as in Europe people demand to be viewed as equal, whatever the money and influence they command, and the racist card blackmail does not play well.

      Dylan’s “I smell his blood, he must be a Croat“, complete with implying that, just as the Nazis massacred the Jews, so did the Croats with the Serbs, amply justifies the charges. French judges are very serious people. For hatred and crimes against humanity, they don’t hesitate to prosecute, worldwide. That’s why the Croats went to France, although the insulting hatred was in an American publication that may not even be published in France.

      French judges are also backed by the power of the Republic, and its long arm. That’s why Mr. Dylan, knowing this, responded to the convocation.

      Dylan does have to be labelled a Jew, and American, a Black, or a racist. What is in question here is not mr. Dylan’s nature, deep down inside. What is in question is the authorization of making such insults and incitation to hatred, publicly, without being punished.

      Because of the way Hitler was behaving, the French Republic maneuvered in 1938-1939, to declare war against Hitler, in light of his declarations.

      Racism against Croats is still racism. It’s aggravated by the fact that Croatia is in the EU, Serbia has applied to it, and France is implicitly the armed and dangerous guarantor of Human Rights in Europe. Croats have to be shown that they are fully defended. They have the power to block Serbia’s accession (itself part of the Kosovo deal with Serbia).

      What French justice will want from Mr. Dylan is a recognition of his racist error. That’s how Europe is being constructed. One corrected error at a time.

      Dylan is viewed, worldwide, as a pacifist icon. Justice cannot tolerate that a pacifist icon would condone “smelling the blood” of entire populations that are COMPLETELY innocent of whatever monster crimes he implied they did (whereas they did not!).

      Justice does not consider its own culpability. It considers whether public insults and incitation to hatred could lead, or not, to throw motes or beams in other people’s eyes.
      PA

      • Sallie Reynolds Says:

        thank you. i am getting clearer now on your meaning. One point, though: people’s actual words are important. dylan used words we might wish he had not, and he may apologize for them. However, nowhere did he say: I smell the blood of. . .
        Second point: Justice should always consider its own culpability. Not to do so is hypocritical, in all senses of that word. and to my mind, it is evil. In the post below Alexi Helligar (I think – the post is under your name) says: Some criticism is righteous a lot of it is not (some criticism is self-righteous). Unfair criticism muddies the moral waters in favour of the expansion and dominion of plutocracy. It is irresponsible business to engage in unfair criticism.

        I agree with this.

        Thanks for making this conversation possible.

        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          Thanks Sallie! Civilization progresses by becoming more rigorous in the way it feels, thinks and expresses itself. Old forms of feeling, thinking and expression are often not just obsolete and obnoxious, but outright punished by law.
          Plutocracy has to be corralled, cornered and collapsed by more exacting laws. those laws do not presently exist. They have to be presented, adopted by public opinion, and passed. But first of all, old antagonisms have to be discarded, so that all the hostility can be directed towards plutocracy.

          This why, using the bully pulpit to tell us that is normal that Serbs smell Croats’ blood has to be thrown out of the window, by law.

          The stupid “you smell the blood of these Nazis” mentality in the ex-Yugoslavia killed hundreds of thousands there, not counting the lives, of, for example French Air Force and army personnel (the French, under UN mandate, were first to have to fire on misled Serb armed forces in Sarajevo, several years before the USA consented to join).

          Dylan is not very educated, so I don’t know where he picked up the notion. But I do not doubt he will use the bully pulpit in reverse, to condemn the unlawful thoughts and feelings he expressed.

          Still working on my anti-sexist essay.
          PA

  11. Alexi Helligar Says:

    Alexi Helligar Until there is evidence to the contrary, I can only accuse Oprah and Dylan of the racism that is common to all, including you and me.

    We are racist but not special much.3 hours ago via mobile ·

    This is the most important part of my message:

    Some criticism is righteous a lot of it is not (some criticism is self-righteous). Unfair criticism muddies the moral waters in favour of the expansion and dominion of plutocracy. It is irresponsible business to engage in unfair criticism.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      I am absolutely not a racist like Oprah, or Dylan. I would never insult and hate an entire population, especially one I obviously knew nothing about (as Dylan with the Croats).

      My position is already backed up by justice and judges. It’s not like I am all alone and a dimwit. If “I smell his blood” he must be a Croat” like the Nazis with the Jews is not an insult and incitation to hatred, I must rest my case.
      PA

  12. Alexi Helligar Says:

    The elitism of Oprah is at worst obnoxious. It is not genocide, or an incitement to genocide. Oprah is not calling for the extinguishing of Europeans.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Genocide? An interesting subject: how does it arise? Well, with perfectly normal people one never stops erring. And that’s no red herring. Even the worst Nazis were not calling (officially) for the extermination of Europeans, or even Jews. It was seriously, and tragically, more subtle than that.

      Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” starts with pretty reasonable attacks against the French, and, after a few pages, the Jews in Vienna. What’s bad there is the entire unbalanced context. OK, the French were bad in Germany. But they also did lots of good, and, it’s easy to argue, much more good than bad. Same for the Jews. Where was that, Mr. Hitler?
      It’s the monomaniacal, the dimension reduction in analysis that brings the worst…
      PA

      PA
      PA

  13. TomAlex Says:

    I am really shocked at what has become of a country that produced enlightment and the greatness of “I disagree with every word you say , but will defend to death your right to say it.” So, Mr. Dylan is prosecuted for failing to say “Ustashi” instead of ‘Croats’? And this is really such a huge threat to the french republic?

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Tom: Not directly a threat to the French Republic, but, indirectly, as it is a threat to the European Union.

      “I disagree with every word you say , but will defend to death your right to say it.” has always been B-S. At no time in history was that ever the case, except maybe in caves, 50,000 years ago. Right now sex talk about children is punished by law, for example, rightly and tightly so.

      Dylan expressed a thought: transgenerational hatred is justifiable. However, it’s not. Hatred is not even justifiable when the enemy has surrendered. Then the time for explanations has come, as Mandela right pointed out.

      A Croatian Jew wrote an editorial in the meantime, supporting my position (also that of French justice). Dylan has to explain, and excuse himself. Not just for the Serbs versus Croats call to hatred and smelling the blood, but for justifying transgenerational hatred. He obviously does not get the point as he has been confronted by French justice for several months, and still has not issued the abject apology demanded of him.

      Although my family suffered heavily from fascism, I disapprove for example, of the execution of the famous SS commander Joachim (or Jochen) Peiper in France (where he had elected residence!) in 1976. It’s more important to reveal the mechanisms of hatred than to punish the perpetrators.
      PA

  14. TomAlex Says:

    I’m still confused.
    First, how does Dylan’s beliefs (if indeed that constitutes a belief) threaten the EU? And, even if it somehow does, aren’t there appropriate EU organs/institutions that are supposed to act? Why a french judge unilaterally?
    Second, there are people all over the world, especially in places like the middle east with view that Dylan cannot match even if he decided to join the KKK. Does this mean that fench judges only go after easy, recognizable targets?
    Third, the Ante Pavelic/Ustashi genocides during WWII is well known and documented (and their supporters still bragg about it). One Croatian football player did a Ustashi salute after the recent qualifying games and UEFA promptly banned him for 10 games, meaning he loses the world cup. To me doing a Ustashi/nazi salute is much more ‘hating’ than Dylan’s words, yet no french judge has as far as I know filed against that croatian player. But my main point is I am trying to understand what is illegal here: “Jews sensing nazi blood” is apparenty ok, so I assume had he said “Serbs sensing Ustashi blood” would also have been ok. So the issue is generalizing and using croatian instead of Ustashi. But if that were true, it would also apply had he said “armenians sensing turkish blood”.
    Last, I firmly believe in the ideas of enlightment and the strive to political correctness is, I feel a very serious threat to democracy and the valies of enlightment and the french revolution that form the foundation of todays’s free societies. For example I firmly support Wilders’s right to hold critical views of islam and if there is for instance a fifth collumn of Alqueda, I certainly do not want to make whistleblowers illegal(imagine making it illegal in the late 1930s in western republics for anyone to complain about Hitler’s 5th collumn). If a biologist theorizes that a race is more clever or agile or whatever, I want this to be freely discussed and settled in scientific circles, not by some judge or mob.

    • Alexi Helligar Says:

      Well stated, TomAlex!

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear TomAlex: Let me try to explain the context better.

      Dylan’s deplores discrimination by color of skin. Yet he justifies something very American:

      transgenerational racial, or, in this case, tribal discrimination. In the USA, people are/were supposed to be classified by “race”.

      Dylan clearly said “Serbs” “could smell the blood” of “Croats”. In the topological context

      of “Jews smelling the blood of Nazis”.

      France wants peace between Serbia and its neighbors. More: France REQUIRES it. France is determined to IMPOSE it. Dylan is a perfect target to demonstrate the new requirements

      IMPOSED ON LANGUAGE in Europe.

      Nobody in France compares Germans to Nazis and “smell the blood of Germans as if they were Nazis”. Everybody in France understands that this would be unjust, unwise, hateful, self-destructive, etc.

      People who would feel like expressing the sort of “smelling the blood” racism as Dylan, can be dragged in a French Court, and condemned. If they can do it to Dylan, they can do it to the first Serb or Croat they can grab.

      France wants Serbia to join Slovenia and C roatia in the EU. Absolutely. France is,historically, very attached to the Serbs, who fought with hyper courage against the fascists in World War One. And got crucial French help. And enormous losses (most males of combat age were wounded or killed then.

      So enough with “smelling the blood”. Everything indicaters Mr. Dylan is not too bright. He has to be taught. And millions behind him. To leave behind the hatred, forever.

      This is about force. Forcing people to become more civilized. That’s why Dylan’s convocation to justice (mandat d’amener) was followed by giving him the Legion d’Honneur (that can be withdrawn, should he not get it, and persist in his hateful error).

      Make no mistake: France does not speak about it very loud, but views herself as guarantor of European security. All of it, all the way to Moscow. (There the methods used are different.)
      PA

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      French judges do not go after easy targets alone. Accusations for war crimes and warrant of arrest have been issued against sitting heads of states. Sometimes, accommodations were found. For example the president-dictator of Rwanda, so threatened, has surrendered in the sense that he has agreed, at least at this stage to stop killing more than 5 million people in Congo to present Apple Inc and the rest of the Silicon Valley with cheap Coltran…

      The EU amplifies French positions, say about Ukraine.
      PA

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Turkey has refused to recognize the genocide the present republic there committed against Armenia. So to call the Turkish republic names is OK. So it is to call any Turk claiming there was no genocide. To deny that there was a Jewish genocide orchestrated by the Nazis is unlawful in France. A similar law was nearly passed about the Armenian genocide. It did not pass because it’s less clear who was at fault.

      Although the Young Turks committed genocide against Greeks and Armenians (among others), there is no Young Turk party to kick around anymore.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Last but not least, I have said all the more abominable things about the superstition of Islam, because they were true, and I support Wilders and Le Pen that way. But that is completely different. I don’t say: “When I see a Muslim, I can smell his blood”. Nor do I think, or feel, that way.

      Dylan feels it’s correct for Serbs (in general) to feel that way about Croats (in general), and that’s intolerable: an example has to be made, while teaching a lesson.

      BTW, I have met young white French telling me about the “I smell the blood” thing about Muslims in general. I was astounded. I got even more amazed, a few years later, when some of the exact same ilk, bombed me personally.

      As far as the football players are concerned, some of the emulators of Hitler got very severely punished. Certainly TOO punished if they were simple citizens. If I want to make a Nazi/Roman salute, that’s by prerogative, I use to do it lots to salute my enemies. However, in a stadium, and in context, it was something else.

      France and Germany (following), among others, have learned form the built-up of hatred of WWII. Last, but not least, private speech ought to be completely free. The problem with Dylan was that this was an official interview of a prominent celebrity, in a worldwide famous magazine.
      PA

  15. Sallie Reynolds Says:

    Thanks, Tom and Alexi. Patrice: For the umpteenth time, Dylan said “sense.” NOT “smell.” Repeating a misstatement does not make it true, though that is a trick often effective in debate. This SENSE, in Dylan’s statement, refers to our subliminal recognition of hostility and danger when we confront someone who automatically reacts negatively or hostilely to us. He used the word “blood.” To me, an American, it is very very clear he meant “attitude” or “deep feeling.” It is very very difficult to erase attitudes we are raised with. And even when we learn better, there may remain discomfort. What happens when I, an old white woman raised in the South in a slave-owning family, enter a party where there are black guests? It takes an interesting and careful “dance” of approach and tentative gestures for a meeting of souls to take place. It can take place, but an extra effort is often needed on both sides.

    It is a difficult thing to know that your people, your family, have been involved, on either side, of something as terrible as slavery. And Dylan says plainly it will take a long time for that distress to pass from us. We in the US, some of us whose grandparents were slaveowners or slaves, feel this deeply and with great sorrow. We feel it constantly. And until both sides are far enough away from the time and the actions that our children’s children know nothing of them and can meet openly and as individuals of equality and fraternity, there will be discomfort. Dylan made a connection between race distress in the US and in Europe. False? Maybe. Maybe not. But it was not against the law in the US to say this and he didn’t say it in France. So chiding Dylan from afar will serve no purpose to anyone. A wise judge once said to me, “I cannot adjudicate feelings.” Time and tolerance need to cook together for feelings to change. I believe that we in the US are making progress. Lawsuits about voting rights, wage equity, housing equity can help keep us in a forward line of progress. Making laws about our words will add nothing good for anyone.

    • Alexi Helligar Says:

      Beautifully said, Sallie!

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Sallie: One cannot adjudicate feelings, but one can adjudicate the public expression of feeling by celebrities. Dylan has, at this point a convocation, in person, in a French Court in 2014. He better shows up. French law applies worldwide, and the French Republic has set-up legal means, worldwide, to make it so.

      Interpol is a French pet.

      Dylan understood this enough to show up the first time. This is not true just for France: the USA is getting on the French bandwagon of worldwide arrests, and I want to congratulate Obama that way.

      The third man at the bank UBS, under a USA warrant of arrest, was intercepted in the night at 5 star hotel in Italy, and is not chained in Florida. Although the Dylan incitation to hatred is much more grave, it’s not viewed legally speaking as grave enough to cause him serious problems.

      Eh, don’t worry. Like De Niro when he faced pedophile charges in France, I don’t doubt Dylan will learn. De Niro was positively enraged, after being held by French police for a very long time, but, well, he denounced the error of his ways, and has since presided the Cannes Film Festival…

      Same approach as with Dylan: the (night) stick and the (Legion of honor) carrot.

      It’s all about learning. There are laws about words in the USA too, now. They were copied on those in France. And it’s a very good thing.

      I’m going to make a song about Dylan:

      “How does it feel How does it feel
      How does it feel
      To be on your own
      With no mental direction home
      Like an uneducated unknown
      Like a rolling fool

      Nobody has ever taught you how to think on your feet
      And now you find out you’re gonna have to get used to it…
      You need judges to tell you how to make legal sense…”

      Some of the 1960s primitivism, at last revealed.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      A more serious point is that, Sallie, you keep on justifying Dylan by saying the USA comes from a far away place, making all awkward. Right. So correctness has to be learned. I do agree with several of the ideas Dylan proffered. I am the first to call onto systems of thoughts, and moods/emotions.

      Americans have the mood that race is a problem. It’s OK to have a problem with race, for Americans. However, it’s not. Anti-racism is all about telling the truth. The exact truth.

      Dylan singled out the KKK (dead), the Nazis (dead), and… “the (contemporary, LIVE, INNOCENT) Croats”, and put them in the same basket. That’s NOT OK.

      He demonstrated not just that he did not understand how hatred and alienation works, but he views as OK, to feed them.

      So doing he did not just look at the knife, and said others have misused it. No. He stabbed in the back, Croats and Serbs. And he does not understand this, nor do his American admirers, including the editorial board of the New York Times.

      Yes, the same ones who thought attacking Iraq under false premises was great.

      Just like many other Americans, he had a problem understanding this, because he is all distracted, he is all “held back” by the civil war he is still fighting in his mind. So he did not get it, even in front of a judge.
      But, ultimately, he will.
      PA

  16. Patrice Ayme Says:

    Thoroughly American New York Times Editorial Board:

    “Croatians objected, complaining that his comment smears all Croatians, past and present. Following publication of the comment, the Representative Council of the Croatian Community and Institutions in France filed a complaint under France’s hate-speech law. The council says it wants a public apology. So far, Mr. Dylan has not responded.

    Mr. Dylan could have phrased his thoughts better, but this should not be a case for the courts.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/10/opinion/bob-dylans-discordant-notes.html?ref=opinion

    Learned nothing, since there were Indians and they were all put in one basket, “sensed”, hated, massacred for “blood”, and replaced by the likes of guitar scratching Mr. Dylan…
    (An insult, I agree, but well deserved, and justified! :-))
    PA

  17. Patrice Ayme Says:

    Hating the hatred is no hate.

  18. Patrice Ayme Says:

    Despising, condemning, and putting out of commission, those who are obsessed with “blood” is no racism, but anti-racism, of the most urgent sort.

    Short circuiting those who condemn completely innocent people, just because of their national origin, ought to be a matter of law. Not just opinion.

    Learn my child, that your ways have been more than very naughty, but a call to the holocausts of old.

    Therefore, before the grave honorable amend you shall make…
    PA

  19. golomaximus Says:

    Dear Alexi:

    “Alexi Helligar Says:
    December 10, 2013 at 9:33 pm
    I think Patrice’s article is in error with respect to Dylan’s meaning and intent. ”

    Well my BLOOD has been boiling about all these exchanges defending the indefensible. One technicality after another?

    Patrice’s point is neither Dylan’s intent nor meaning. Nor that’s the point of French justice. The point is what Dylan said, and that Dylan is huge. The guy is huge, he is supposed to be a peacenik, all about all what’s right

    Croats are Nazis and Serbs are right to sense their blood? That’s Dylan for you??? The huge guy goes bully pulpit about that huge monstrosity about right to hate Croats? And people are, all over the god ol’ USA singing Dylan is not a racist????

    Come on guys, wake up! Stop smoking whatever you’re smoking! If you can’t tell hatred and racism, maybe listen to Wittgenstein: Of what one does not know, one must stay silent!

    Dylan, wake up, people, is a product of racist America, half baked, but still the real thing. Can’t even tell when he is barfing hatred all over the world! Yeah, shocking. But remember Gandhi loved Hitler.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Amen, GMax! I don’t understand all the hard feelings, and the big deal. Celebrity says bad, very bad, publicly and famously inciting hatred, celebrity gets called to order, chastised, punished.

      I just found another NYT piece on Dylan’s hate-full divagations… From a Croatian Jew.
      PA

  20. Patrice Ayme Says:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/16/opinion/bob-dylans-croatian-error.html

    An extract:
    we had in Croatia and Bosnia arguably the most successful resistance movement in occupied Europe, led by Josip Broz Tito (later the leader of Communist Yugoslavia). In September 1943, Croatian Partisans liberated a concentration camp on the island of Rab that held 3,200 Jewish inmates, saving a vast majority of their lives.

    I am a Croatian Jew. Born in 1928, I lost my father to the fascists, but I escaped persecution in my home city, Karlovac, with help from two Catholic families, and found refuge in a Croatian village. To save us from likely deportation to a concentration camp in May 1942, my mother took me and my younger brother to the Croatian Partisans who controlled the southern part of the country, near the Adriatic coast.

    I was 14. From that moment I felt freedom: No one was interested in whether I was a Croat or a Serb, a Christian or a Jew. During the next three years, I worked for the Partisans, first in auxiliary units in Partisan-controlled Serbian villages, and then for 15 months in a combat unit, mostly volunteers from Karlovac.

    Before, during and after the war, I had close friends in two neighboring villages, one Croatian and the other Serbian, about 20 kilometers from my hometown. As I described in my most recent book, the villages’ relationship swung like a pendulum in the last century, from long stretches of understanding, tolerance and collaboration to periodic explosions of misunderstanding, conflict and war.

    Balkan nationalism is a malady that slumbers in times of prosperity and stability, and explodes at other times. The worst was during World War II, when, according to the Croatian demographer Vladimir Zerjavic, some 567,000 people in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina lost their lives in the anti-fascist struggle and civil war: about 210,000 in or because of the war, and about 357,000 killed in genocidal and political terrorist attacks (at least three-quarters of them by the Ustasha, and considerably fewer by Serbian royalist Chetniks and by the Communist-led Partisans).

    Under the system of rule established by Tito, we had more than 40 years of interethnic peace — or at least a truce. But with the breakup of Yugoslavia, old wounds reappeared. Ethnic Serbs in parts of Croatia, backed by the Serb-led Yugoslav Army, rebelled against Croatia’s declaration of independence on June 25, 1991. That summer and fall, perhaps 120,000 Croats (estimates vary widely) were expelled from areas with a mixed Croatian-Serbian population. Their property was plundered or destroyed; hundreds of elderly people who declined to flee were killed.

    Four years later, before the Croatian military offensive known as Operation Storm, some 150,000 Serbs escaped or were expelled from the same area.

    • Alexi Helligar Says:

      Sorry, Patrice. I’m still not getting the gravity of this. Seems like a tempest in a teapot. This is one of your longest threads ever and it over some awkward comment by Dylan.

      • Patrice Ayme Says:

        I am not the one pursuing this. I was just responding, initially to Tom Alex, who surfaces regularly when anything having to do with the Serbs comes over the horizon. His questions were worth answering, so I answered.

        I have met a multilingual, multinational, but USA born partner at an international law firm (a non white female) who was positively incendiary about the Dylan thing and the fact people could NOT get HIS blazing racism. I told her to write a comment, but she set me on fire with blazing eyes. She muttered about using legalese (that involves the F word. apparently)

        This is all about setting higher moral standards. Not just in the USA, but also ex-Yugoslavia. The calls that the USA is a wild place for wild people do not resonate with me. That’s precisely what I want to mitigate.

        Now we have the case of the Indian Consul. No doubt some are going to come and say the USA has a right to violate all international conventions.
        PA

  21. Sallie Reynolds Says:

    Well, no, Patrice, I am not saying that America is a far away place, and therefore awkward. Not exactly. America is indeed far from what you are talking about, in its attitudes, laws, mores. For good and for ill. And relations in this country are indeed often awkward when different cultures meet.

    Through you, I am learning that to me, an American, France, Croatia, possibly all Europe are all far away places with their own deep pains among their peoples, through any number of wars and invasions and genocidal eras. And I don’t understand them and should be careful to keep my mouth shut about them. Just listen and learn. I am beginning to understand more about Croatia and something still vague about French law.

    Reading your notes and these articles about Croatia, I begin to see the raw pain there. And wounds close in time.

    Now I think that on this thread, you and I perhaps, on a very real level, we can’t get any nearer each other’s ideas. So for me, it’s on to the next topic.

    I am now thinking about religion as energy-saving! So easy!

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Sally: The New World has long been a bridge, and an island. A force, in more ways than one, and riches. But now it’s not new in as many ways as in the past, although most have not recognized this. The NSA scandal is more something that one would have had in the Old World, a century ago, than in the New One (see the Dreyfus affair… Or the Serbian Black Hand). Problems are merging, all over. Yet so are solutions…
      PA

  22. TomAlex Says:

    Interesting discussion. Some remarks:
    1) It is very dangerous if any country thinks its laws apply everywhere and tries to enforce them everywhere. For example some countries may have no drinking age. I fully agree with that. My father was the one to offer me my first beer at 13 and so did I with my children. I think it’s a very sound practice, demystify drinking and teach your kids that one never drinks on an empty stomach, one only drinks with company and under the guidance of your parents. I only drink alcohol on family or friends reunion and so do my children. And of course when I am in say the US, I respect US laws. But of course that does not mean the US should have the right to arrest any parent anywhere in the world who does not abide by US drinking laws.
    2) I am very reluctant to give judges interpretation rights. Judges are supposed to be the experts in interpreting the law. Not the physical law(I’ve seen judges disregard completely expert testimony and rule on physics issues that ‘pigs can fly’) . Similarly mind-reading is not a recognized ability of judges. People say one thing and unless it’s very clear (and then, that may have even been a joke), you cannot always infer how one is thinking from a single phrase.
    3) Personally I find it a bit funny when racism is involved in the US. This is the ONLY country in history which has fought an incredibly bloody civil war over the rights of a minority, which was not even citizen at the time. And today a country with a black president is … oppressing the blacks? Obama oppressing himself? This is not to say that racual inequalities do not exist, but that does not mean that Micahel Jordan’s kids for instance have less of a shot than a white or yellow blue-collar worker’s.
    4) Similarly, inferring racist behavior doe snot always hold water. Take for example football hoologans shouting racial slurs at opponent black players. The SAME people cheer for black players playing for THEIR team. So what we are talking about is lowlifes who care about winning at all costs and will stop atnothing to irritate opponents and hence presumably lower their performance in addition to expressing their own psychological problems.
    5)On high profile “public” figures. I’m not sure this holds water. Dylan (or any Dylan) did not apply to be a public figure. He is/was a songwriter. That he was successful does not make him a public figure anymore than your next door neighboor. Anyone who cannot think for oneself and bases one’s actions on what any celebrity does or say is still responsible for one’s actions. If that were not true, then anyone could follow the investments of mega-investors and sue them if they end up losing money for example.
    6)As for the Armenians-Turks analogy “It did not pass because it’s less clear who was at fault.
    Although the Young Turks committed genocide against Greeks and Armenians (among others), there is no Young Turk party to kick around anymore.”
    Well, we all know who orchestrated all this and it was Kemal Attaturk, who is the founding father of today’s Turkey(kind of a Charlegmagne, only a lot more sacred in Turkey).
    So that was clear. The reason it did not pass was probably to avoid damaging relations with Turkey. Of course there is no nazi party in Germany either.

    Last, I have no particular sensitivity towards Serbs or Croats, though I certainly do think that a double standard was applied in the case of the Yugoslav wars, that the hasty recognitions led to a very bloody civil war among people living in harmony for 60 years and that it seriously damaged western credibility. BTW, the head of the resistance against the nazis and their allies, Ante Pavelic and the Ustashi was a Croat, Tito. I do not speak for Dylan nor do I profess to know what was on his mind, but is it possible that he meant “Ustashi’ instead of croats, the same he could have said ‘Turks’ to mean Young Turks in the armenian-turkish analogy?

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear TomAlex: You broached many subjects. Too much to answer them all like that. In such cases, one tends to address first what one differs strongly about. So it creates a sort of artificial antagonism.

      Obama is the grandson of a banker. He is the same color as my spouse, and I would not call that “black” (I have photos of them side by side). In Africa, calling “black” somebody who is not black is viewed as an insult. (Just as calling them “white” BTW).

      The USA had a system of slavery based on one’s partial provenance with Africa that was unique in its barbarity. Dylan is right that, the very fact one had to do the most murderous civil war known to get out of it left scars. I have been saying this myself, for decades.

      I don’t know what was visiting Dylan when he said what he said. He just has to recognize his error, and apologize. He will. I am more fighting those who said there was no problem in what he said.

      There was decision about the Armenian genocide on the European Court of justice, contradicting ALL Swiss courts, which had condemned a (prominent, very loudly public) Turk for saying there was NO Armenian genocide. Today. In the name of liberty of expression. It’s probably all in the historical analysis, and the details.

      Europe is TRANSNATIONAL. So countries have to project laws transnationally. At the same time, the USA has not been good at respecting international law, the latest example being the arrest of the Indian Consul in New York, a few days ago. That was a gross violation of international laws.

      Moreover, there are laws and laws. Some countries, especially France, are maneuvering to get Assad for war crimes. That LEGAL effort has progressed enough that Assad is not part of any conferences on the future of Syria.

      As I said, such efforts by French judges, including accusations of genocide against the Rwandan leadership, have presently stopped Rwandan (and Silicon Valley) interference in the Congo-Kiwu civil war… which killed more than 5 millions.

      So this is all a dialogue, nothing is set in stone.

      Any public system, be a magazine like Rolling Stone, or a radio show, ought to have as a fiduciary duty to truth in my opinion. That’s not accepted. Yet. However, France, Germany, and a few other European countries, and now the USA, punish, by law, inflammatory, hateful, public speech. This was the lesson of WWII.

      Pedophilia, too, that was zero depressed in the media 30 years ago, is now heavily prosecuted, worldwide. In all those cases, repression has proven efficient. And an improvement in civilization.
      PA

  23. TomAlex Says:

    Patrice,
    we fully agree there are laws and laws, but I do not think this will hold water in a US court. US courts do not understand the “so what”, see for example various not terribly intelligent sex laws, like Wisconsin fornication law (sex between unmarried couples illegal), or other anti-fellatio laws etc. People who have admitted breaking these laws HAVE been prosecuted and convicted.
    Part of these efforts have indeed, as you point out, benefited humanity as a whole, e.g. the Rwandan case. Pedophilia too, though crackdowns are limited to western violators, as islam sactions it and well, we do not want to challenge religious beliefs, do we? These are above any law.
    My point, which I am sure you understand, is that one must be careful not to extend this principle to ‘crimes’ that are not crimes against humanity or serious human rights abuses. So we seem to agree on the principle. The difference is that I do not view Dylan’s comments as either clear-cut racism or falling into the above categories. And I see a clear danger since by a very slight extension one judge could tomorrow decide that Wilders(not my hero exactly, but on this specific case I must fully support his right to voice his views) ‘must be taught a lesson’. And any fascist dictator would need no other legal arsenal than such laws.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Tom:
      30 years ago, one could get away with saying, or doing, on the Internet (say), but also on beaches, in Thailand or India, or, even more recently, Africa, things that are now ferociously prosecuted under anti-pedophilia laws.

      The Dylan situation is similar. Dylan lives in a mental world where one can say some things that excite hatred, UNJUSTLY, and get away with it. However, those things, those lies ought not to be said. I am outright for imposing truth.

      The Dylan situation is a case where one cranks up the rigor, away from hysterical hatred. The USA has now anti-hatred laws, copied on those of France (the extremely ferocious anti-Nazi prosecution in France of 1944-45-46-47-48 was copied by other countries in Europe, first the Scandinavian ones, which reinstituted the death penalty, and then Germany, etc.)

      The case of Wilders is different. I do not agree with lots of what he says and stand for, but still I am defending his right to say it.

      Lots of lies on behalf of Salafism have been uttered. Those lies ought to be destroyed.

      In any case, Wilders is a side show.

      The real Spitze is Marine Le Pen. She is presently unjustly (in my opinion) prosecuted in a way a bit similar to Dylan, for having told a few truths about Islam, Salafist model (Salafist, I claim).

      She knew what she was doing, and she did it deliberately. I support her 100% (in this particular case). She has truth by her side. She is also a lawyer, a European MP, leader, and co-creator of an ever more popular party, and potentially president of France.

      But, once again, precision is everything. Dylan said something hateful and insane. Not so Le Pen. What Le Pen said was NOT hateful, and perfectly sane. Big difference. In that case, tables are turned.

      Dylan, and people saying hateful, unsupported by veracity things ought to be punished. In the case of Le Pen, it’s the exact way around: in that case, it’s justice that has to be taught.

      That’s basically what the European Supreme Court told the Swiss courts yesterday about a Turkish-Armenian confrontation. One has to distinguish outright hateful lies (unlawful) from hateful dubious assertions (permitted).

      I hope Le Pen can teach the courts a lesson, and so enable people such as me to become even more hysterical about Salafist Islam.

      Amusingly, and tellingly, some theater of Voltaire about Muhammad, the Islamist ape in chief, was forbidden in Geneva last year. It was played in Geneva 250 years ago… (Or so.)
      PA

  24. Sallie Reynolds Says:

    What Dylan was quoted as saying AGAINST racism in the US was one-hundred percent true. Yes, it was harsh and ugly. But we hear and see the truth of feelings on these issues every time we pick up a newspaper or attend a political rally. Yes, even sitting in our homes. In the 1960s, I had a cross burnt on my lawn. Why? Because an old woman who loved me, whose skin was a dark color, was living with me and looking after my baby while I worked at a hospital. Those people never were brought to account for their frightening actions. The incident never appeared in the papers. The police didn’t even come to the house, though they were called more than once. None of this is likely to happen today, because slowly over the decades, attitudes are changing. At least the police would come today, and the papers would carry the story and the people who set the fire might even be arrested. Meanwhile smacking the wrists of people who offend with their words will never “teach them a lesson” in decency and tolerance.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Sallie: Sorry for the decades of stress you went through. The brand new book, “The Barbarous Years” (from Harvard!) espouses my long held point of view that this reversion to barbarity occurred in the 17C (slavery was unlawful in Europe since Frankish queen Bathilde, circa 650 CE! Blacks were found interred for example in 13C England, without any problem…).

      I think it the barbarity was motivated by an even worse mood, sheer greed. We have to live with all these to this day. Except now the greedsters would enslave us all. Why to bother with skin color, and all can be had?
      :-)!

  25. TomAlex Says:

    “some things that excite hatred” depends a lot on what the audience is. Given the right audience, anything can excite hatred. It may be argued that your blog “incites hatred” against plutocrats and your posts ” incite hatred” against pedophiles. I consider myself and you better than that, that is, I can read and agree with your posts, that does not mean I will take a gun and start shooting plutocrats. I may hate the policies of various so-called leaders and openly express my opinion about that. This will not incite you to want to ‘smell their blood’. On the other hand, if you have an illiterate mob that some ‘leader’ sells on how they have been wronged by X,Y or Z, and they take matters into their own hands, then a) in uncivillized places, this is allowed and this mob elects or accepts the government and b) in civillized countries there is the police to deal with that and even arrest the leader but only if the leaders steps over a certain line. For instance there is -nor should there be-no action on hate-inciting “The profilgate European PIIGS are threatening your savings and pension”, “those Brussels bureaucrat leaches are sucking us dry” and so on.
    That line in my book should be something to the effect “therefore physically harm them all”.
    I view Dylan’s case as an observation rather than as a call to violence or hatred. It just says there is bad blood between jews and nazis, or jews and arabs, or serbs and croats or armenians and turks and many others. I see nothing in Dylan’s comment that could incite anyone to hate or violence. It’s like saying Lakers and Celtics fans don’t like each other or in french terms PSG and OM. “Oh, yeah and I can tell from the way you walk, talk or play that you’re a Celtics or PSG fan”. That’s how I read Dylan’s comment and there is nothing hateful in it as far as I can tell. From the whole context of his comment what I read is “I’m really sick and tired of people making idiotic distictions based on skin color or harbouring grudges over what happened 200 years ago. I think such people are nuts”. This is how I’d translate Dylan’s comment and why any judge would bother is beyond me.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Tom: As far as Dylan: he had just proximally analogized with the Jews v Nazis, and the blacks v KKK. Croats are alive, so are Serbs; Nazis are dead, so are KKK. It’s all about public insults against an INNOCENT ethnic group, analogizing them to Nazis.

      The context is that the Serbs have had lots of difficulty with nearly all their neighbors, even today (Kosovo). French justice does not think that encouraging them Serbs to feel wronged as if they were wronged by Nazis is a good thing. it’s rather a criminal thing.

      Plus: the Croats have been very good at arresting their recent criminals, some heroes of the war of independence for the Serb dictator Milosevic. So they are more than innocent.

      Plutocrats are not innocent: they actually kill people. See the Coltran war in Kiwu, Congo, secretly organized by Silicon Valley and its puppets. 5 million dead. Until precisely France rolled the big artillery of war crimes accusation against the leaders of Rwanda.

      The curious part is that Dylan persisted that he had a right to express himself that way. He should excuse himself and be done with it. That’s all what the Croats have asked for. He has refused to do that. Maybe some Croatian girl wronged him, and he wants to exact vengeance?

      Hatred, per se, is not something damnable. Towards the end of WWII, enraged USA troops killed thousands of SS and the like who had surrendered. Or extermination camps guards, some SS.

      A more recent and worrisome situation is Japan honoring its WWII mass murdering fascist criminals of the worst type. That people would react with hatred to that is more than understandable, and the attitude of the Japanese government is more than hateful, it’s very dangerous.

      I would be very surprised that Dylan would not do abject excuses soon. That will be a warning shot to Serbs about Kosovo.
      PA

  26. TomAlex Says:

    Patrice,
    first, my warmest season’s greetings.
    Second,
    “The context is that the Serbs have had lots of difficulty with nearly all their neighbors, even today (Kosovo).”
    This however, does not automatically make it their fault
    ” French justice does not think that encouraging them Serbs to feel wronged as if they were wronged by Nazis is a good thing. it’s rather a criminal thing”
    How can feelings be criminal? This is absolute totalitarianism, where the state -and actually a FOREIGN state- believes it can and should have a say and furthermore control and penalize feelings through some judge. Plutocrats would absolutely love that. Been fired and have hard feelings towards your ex-boss? You’re a hateful ****, and should go to jail. Posting against plutocrats? You’re speading hate. Don;t appreciate what bankers are doing for the world economy and feel wronged about having your savings last? You should not feel victimized, this is a criminal thing and we must crack down on such feelings of victimization.

    I think you get what I’m driving at.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Hello Tom, and warmest greetings to you to, and thanks for all your contributions. I put deliberately the control of feelings and emotions, thus beyond thoughts themselves, not just as a provocation, but rather, well, a contribution.

      Controlling emotions and thoughts is just controlling the origin of actions. It’s all a question of doing it for the best, as it is already done, for the worst.

      Hate speech is criminal, even in the USA. The fact such laws were duplicated from France does not make them any less American. Total freedom of expressed emotions is already a thing of the past, and rightly so.

      I have no problem doing the same at the UN, and even using anti-hate laws as a ram against customs that I don’t like. So it’s a matter of legislating my superior taste… ;-)!

      As you point out, the devil is in the details. I am going to come out with a stridently hateful (some will say) essay against Japan. However, what I say is either true or justified. That makes it completely different.

      If I say that French and Croat Nazi collaborators of the worst type ought to have been boiled alive. Well, that’s OK, because those were terrible people doing horrendous things. A trial would determine that those people ought to have suffered the worst treatment, indeed.

      In this spirit, Norway, the Netherlands re-instituted the death penalty against Nazi collaborators after WWII, just for them. Fine.

      Thus, having strong anti-UNJUSTIFIED-hatred laws will help the search for truth.
      And that’s what we need.

      For example GW Bush ought to be prosecuted for war crimes. Among them, war of aggression, a hate crime. Attacking North Korea preventively would not be a war of aggression, as North Korean leaders already threatened the USA with nuclear strikes. Similarly, France’s unilateral attack of Hitler in September 1939, was not a war of aggression, whatever the Nazis said. Indeed, the Nazis had repeatedly attacked civilization and human rights first.

      Last but not least: there is a common European citizenship. It’s entirely in the realm of French justice to react when citizen of the same polity (Europe) are hated by whoever, be it a citizen of the USA.
      PA

  27. Emotions Are Not Free | Some of Patrice Ayme's Thoughts Says:

    […] origin of Tom Alex’s worries were my approval of the indictment of Bob Dylan for “public insult and incitation to hatred”, for comparing (existing, innocent) Croats to (dead) Nazis, and justifying a hatred (existing) […]

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