Everyone’s giving remarks on the Max Blumenthal “Feeling the Hate” video controversy, so I will too.
First, some background: Max Blumenthal, heretofore most famous for making awesome-horrible videos of dumb white people saying really bad stuff about Obama on American soil, took to the streets of Jerusalem the night before the president’s Cairo speech, recorded some dumb white (and Jewish!) people saying really bad stuff about Obama on Israeli soil, and then edited it altogether into a four minute video, first posted on Philip Weiss’s blog and soon after posted everywhere else.
The crux of the controversy that has followed has largely been about Blumenthal’s methods — drunk subjects, selective editing — and also about what, if anything or anyone, these assholes-on-tape represent.
As has already been pointed out: the drunkenness of the subjects is a non-factor. Mel Gibson might need a fifth of bourbon to call a lady sugar tits out loud, but you know he’s always thinking it. And in terms of the editing: Well, sure, one has to assume that Blumenthal didn’t care much for presenting a cross-section of opinion, but that doesn’t make what he did present untrue.
But enough of what has already been stated more eloquently elsewhere. Here’s what I can add: After going to Jewish summer camp my entire childhood, I, like almost all of my friends, took a teen tour to Israel the summer before my junior year of high school. During this trip, which lasted about a month I think, we were given a couple of days of elective time. We could choose between various experiences — spend a few days on a kibbutz, spend a few days doing water sports, or spend a few days in basic training. Obviously no one chooses sports. All the cool kids chose the army, and so did I. So: What did this experience teach me? How to shoot an M-16! Turns out: I am an excellent shot. At the time, this all seemed totally fine and good and I saved my paper target to bring home to my parents and everything was hunky dory until I grew up and slowly began to realize how fucked up this and everything else having to do with my Jewish education was and kinda freaked about it. To use a very true cliche: I could write a book (title: Conflicted) or at least a really really long essay that would likely make me look bad and upset my parents, not to mention my sister who lives in Israel.
But for the purposes of this blog, all I want to say is: Send a kid from Youngstown, Ohio to Israel for the summer to connect more with her Jewish identity and put a gun in her hand, and you know what you get? The Max Blumenthal video.
P.S. As I was writing this post, this happened. Which does not make me want to pick up an M-16, but, you know… doesn’t help.