Just in case you've been living under a rock for the past week or so, actor Mel Gibson is having a bit of a stressful time lately. Just when the world was starting to forget the crazy antisemitic nonsense he spewed during his DUI arrest, Gibson and his baby mama are tangled up in a custody battle, and tapes of their phone conversations were released that, frankly, shocked the heck out of me. Gibson, who seems to be on the edge of losing his darn mind, can't seem to say an entire sentence without screaming profanities, not to mention some of the most vile and bigoted things I've ever heard. If you're curious but prefer not to listen a man tell the mother of his child that he hopes she gets "raped by a pack of n******" [Seriously! Who says stuff like that?!] then Salon.com has posted a transcript of the tapes here.
One of the more bizarre stories to come out of the Gibson meltdown was Whoopi Goldberg's defense of Gibson. Salon writer Mary Elizabeth Williams described Goldberg's words as follows (warning - NSFW language in original article):
Monday on "The View"...Goldberg copped readily to Gibson being "an a**hole" and said, "I don’t like what he's done. Make no mistake." She also firmly stated, "I know Mel, and I know he's not a racist. I can't sit and say that he's a racist, having spent time with him in my house with my kids." She furthermore chalked up his earlier anti-Semitic remarks to the fact that "Drunks say stupid stuff to people all the time because they're drunk." So if you've ever been drunk and forgot to blame the Jews for all the wars in the world, maybe you were doing it wrong.
...[T]o listen to those tirades and conclude that the person behind them -- who did not merely blame his girlfriend should she get raped but also specified that it would be at the hands of "a pack of n******" -- is anything but racist as all hell is inconceivable, no matter how many times the alleged speaker has hung out at a black woman's home. Whoopi's right that Gibson's an a**hole. He also appears every inch a racist. But Goldberg? She's just plain crazy.
I agree. This appears to be nothing more than a version of the old, tired "I have a black friend!" standard defense to racism charges. Regardless of how many times Mel Gibson has been to Whoopi Goldberg's house, or how nice he is to her kids, it doesn't change the fact that what he said was abhorrent and disgusting.
Many people are able to conduct themselves in socially appropriate ways in front of others, but still hold tightly to inner prejudices or anger. Think about the stereotypical movie scene of a jerk at a cocktail party, telling a racist joke - the jerk never announces the joke to the entire party, but instead just whispers it to his group. Does the fact that the jerk is later cordial to a Hispanic waitress make his racist joke less ugly? Nope. Let's give another example: the guy at the bar who sweetly tells his girlfriend on the phone that he'll be home soon, only turn around to his buddies, roll his eyes and tell them that "The b**** is making me come home." Would the girlfriend not be angry if she heard about what he said, just because he had been nice when speaking directly to her? Ha!
The point I'm trying to make is that if someone says something bigoted, giving an example where that person was nice to someone in the group that his comments were targeting does nothing to erase or excuse the bigoted comments.
And now to Matthew Falconer...
After my post last week questioning whether Falconer was encouraging or condoning antisemitism in his campaign, I have gotten a number of comments from Falconer supporters, all of which said something along the lines of "Matt is nice to me and I don't believe he is racist or antisemitic." Well, I'm sure he is nice to people who agree with him and tell him they'll vote for him. Still doesn't explain my phone conversation though!
Falconer also responded himself in a very humorous little email, which someone forwarded to me:
Teresa Jacobs attack dog Sarah Rumpf has gone way too far this time. She has suggested I am anti-Semitic and perhaps even racist. She said it is “my (her) belief that Falconer may be encouraging anti-Semitism in his campaign.” This claim comes because one of my supporters (who she did not mention by name) asked Sarah if she was Jewish.
For the record I went to a high school that was 75% Jewish and most of my lifetime friends are Jewish.
She then went on to claim I was rude to minorities. Why not throw racism in while she is at it. I met this month with the head of the NAACP and tea party leaders to try and convince the NAACP the tea party is about our children’s future, not race. I attended African American and Hispanic festivals this year and shook the hands of 1000s of minorities.
A Hispanic political advisor for another candidate said; “I can tell you do not have a racist bone in your body.”
OK, like I said above, pointing out how many Jewish or minority friends Falconer has does not prove my phone conversation with "Susie" didn't take place, or provide any sort of explanation for it. I am still waiting to hear any explanation from Falconer or his supporters that would excuse what I heard.
And let's be clear: I am not claiming that Falconer is antisemitic just because someone "asked if I was Jewish." Go back and read my original post. The accusation was that I was supporting Segal and Jacobs because "you're all Jewish," and there was something wrong with that, and then the statement about whether certain people were "Anglo-Saxon enough." Oh, and I "claim [Falconer] was rude to minorities" because people who are minorities told me he was rude to them! It's pretty simple.
Hitler didn't start out saying that he wanted to round up and kill several million Jewish people. The early Nazi propaganda was much more subtle, suggesting that the Jews were unfairly controlling the financial system, that they were conspiring together to gain illicit advantages, and that it was hurting the German people.
Now, I'm certainly not suggesting that Matthew Falconer wants to build concentration camps, but I do believe that saying that a group of people are helping each other out because they're all Jewish and insinuating there's something nefarious about that (not to mention judging people as inferior depending on their level of "Anglo-Saxon") is a form of antisemitism.
Well, it's been several days since I first posted this story. I assume that if there were a legitimate explanation for what I heard, Falconer would have already said so.
Falconer did have one more great comment in his email:
To my supporters, I ask they stop trying to win over Sarah Rumpf. It only fuels her vial rhetoric.
Awesome. It was getting pretty annoying to have to have the same conversation over and over with the Falconer groupies. "Stop telling me he's honest and kind. He has not been honest regarding me, he's lied and attacked and slandered my name, and never apologized or corrected his mistakes..."
Plus, how adorable is it that Falconer apparently uses the same style manual as whoever writes the NAACP's press releases? Hey Matty, "vial" is a container. I think you meant "vile."