June 9, 2012
Not a fan of Schindler’s List. I felt it was exploitative and gave the Palestinians ground to make a comparison. It failed to show Jews fighting back in any capacity… that said… this pisses me off…
(Volokh) That’s what the Hollywood Reporter reports, stating that school district officials acknowledged the incident and apologized for the principal’s disinvitation decision:
[Gerald Molen] was invited to speak to the graduating class at a Montana high school. But upon arriving, was told by the principal he would not be allowed to deliver the speech he had prepared….
Molen says [Principal Tom] Stack told him straight up that he wouldn’t be allowed to address the students because he was “a right-wing conservative.”
“He said some callers didn’t want the kids exposed to that, despite not knowing what my message would be,” Molen told The Hollywood Reporter….
For the Ronan students, Molen planned to use [Oskar] Schindler as an example of what courageous individuals could accomplish, and he also planned to ask them to “imagine your future is a movie. Forty years from now, you’re writing a script about your accomplishments. What would that script look like?”
“It was a totally apolitical speech,” Molen said….
I should note that I don’t think there’s any First Amendment problem with a school’s inviting or not inviting a guest speaker based on the person’s past political activity — giving such a speech is an honor, and a school might consider a person’s opinions in deciding whether to honor him. Nor do I think that there’s any First Amendment problem with the disinvitation: A school need not delegate the decision about who will speak to the students, or to any particular official, and a principal may undo what lower-level officials have done, or even what he himself had done. (Four Justices have suggested that decisions to stock a book in a school library, once made, can’t be unmade for ideological reasons, but four other Justices disagreed with that, and in any event even the Justices who thought there were limits on library book removal decisions recognized that a school had brought authority to set and change “curriculum” — and I think the invitation of honored guest speakers is a part of that curriculum.) The cancellation might be a breach of contract, though it’s not clear what the damages would be, but not a constitutional violation.
This having been said, it sounds like the cancellation was also a sign of both intolerance and impoliteness, and a poor example to set to students — as the superintendent of schools has acknowledged. The principal is leaving the school and going to work at another school 70 miles away (right around the block by Montana standards, I hear), apparently for reasons unrelated to this incident. I hope that his new employers persuade him to behave better in his new position.
For Molen’s own account of the incident, see here. Thanks to Dan Gifford for the pointer. Note that, notwithstanding the Hollywood Reporter headline, this apparently involved a speech to the graduating class but not a graduation speech (the graduation was apparently June 3, and the Molen incident happened before May 26).
I have a big problem with public tax payer money going to political discretion. I have no problem advocating a matter of taste in art, but we should not tolerate a vibrant political sphere in the United States that is acceptable to half the country as a reason to reject the ideas of it’s speaker. That might not be law… but I would do everything I could to push it if it isn’t. Rejecting someone because of a broad American term like Conservative is ugly. I’m from a family that might feel likewise about Conservatism, and I believe it is an ugly point of view. That said… I don’t like the smell here and I’m guessing this is some Juden Hass going down.
November 14, 2011
(New Yorker) “Rubinstein’s New York living room, like everything else about her, was tasteless but full of gusto,” Brandon writes. “It sported an acid-green carpet designed by Miró, twenty Victorian carved chairs covered in purple and magenta velvets, Chinese pearl-inlaid coffee tables, gold Turkish floor lamps, life-sized Easter Island sculptures, six-foot-tall blue opaline vases, African masks around the fireplace, and paintings covering every inch of wall space.” She once invited Edith Sitwell over for lunch and, upon hearing that Sitwell’s ancestors had burned Joan of Arc at the stake, exclaimed, “Somebody had to do it!” In the nineteen-fifties, she took as a companion a young man half a century her junior, wooing him on a date that began with an enormous lunch (“I need to keep up my energy!”) and a showing of “Ben-Hur” (“Most interesting! I’m glad the Jewish boy won!”). From then on, Rubinstein took the young man everywhere, even to a state dinner with the Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, who asked her, “Who’s your goy?” Rubinstein replied, “That’s Patrick! And . . . and, yes, he is my goy.”
Note the backhanded accusation of racism at the Jewish entrepreneur. It is as if implying that even the Jewish business woman is a bigot. Some interesting history here, but told in a frame that is hostile to profit and business. Hate is not profitable and though the editorial feels otherwise, the greater story is that haters go to considerable illogical choices to guide their decisions. Rubinstein is compared to the L’Oreal owner Schueller who bought her business after she died and was a Nazi and Arab League collaborator against Israel and it’s Jews. It is pointed out that L’Oreal could of just as well bought another cosmetics company like Elizabeth Arden, but the point is that he bought Rubinstein… and like Lehman Brothers before him… bought her company in what would turn out to be a poor business decision. The was written in March; back when business was still under attack. It was written in the New Yorker and used a Jewish historical business figure to prove how shrewd business decisions are often immoral. After looking it over months later I have realized how biased the New Yorker actually is, because if you look at the underlying story (hidden behind the writer’s bias and behind the critic of the writer’s bias) is a story about how vanity, ego and bigotry led to a poor move. Oscar Schindler is also brought up. Suppose Oscar had not saved those Jews? Would he of become a hero after the war?