:: Thursday, 17 April 2003 ::
Ah. You might like to rephrase that, eh?
"Under what conditions is it possible to criticise anything American and not be called Anti-American?"
Criticise anything American? Just anything at all? Just pick anything of the air to do with America and give a good old criticising? Jesus, man. Are you awake? That is a freakin' definition of anti-Americanism. That you can pick whatever you like and have a go. Never mind that it might actually be unworthy of criticism, that is might actually be a good thing about America.
Stewart probably meant to use the word "something" rather than "anything", but his prejudice got the better of him.
What he is actually asking is this: Under what conditions should other people not be allowed the opportunity to call me out on my anti-Americanism? Or even just to call me anti-American?
Never. That is the answer. There are no conditions in which I, for example, should have be quiet, that I should have to let Stewart or anyone else spout theirr idiocy without making any comment, without engaging in a robust exchange.
Now, the question: "Under what conditions is it possible to criticise something American and not be called Anti-American?" has a simple answer.
Under any conditions which see the criticiser bringing some clarity and sense of scale to bear in his or her criticism. Credit where it is due and criticism where it is due too.
Phillip Adams. Anti-American. It is not enough to say, "I like jazz and Steinbeck but....". That qualification will not get you out of anti-American territory.
Alan Ramsey. Terry Lane. Guy Rundle. Brian Toohey. Et al.
Christopher Hitchens. Not anti-American. Criticiser of American stuff out the wazoo. Why not anti-American? Because he picks his targets, he gives them a thrashing and his collected works cannot be read and understood as a full-on hatred and dislike of the place. Credit where it is due.
It is a matter scale. Proportion.
:: WB 8:21 pm [link+] ::