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A 'Hardball' Flashback: Britain Blitzed! By: William Katz
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, July 14, 2005


HARDBALL:  Here it is, mid-1940. France is kaput.  Britain is getting plastered from the air. What goes?  With me by phone is the BBC's Lenore Leftie to sort it out.  I'm Chris Matthews. Let's play "Hardball."  Lenore, I hear explosions.  What's the story from London?

LENORE LEFTIE:  Well, Chris, there is some bother.

HARDBALL:  Some bother?  That's what you call it?  You're in the middle of an air raid.

LENORE LEFTIE:  The BBC doesn't use that term, Chris.

HARDBALL:  Why?  That's what it is.

LENORE LEFTIE:  But it's so…judgmental.  After all, one man's air raid is another man's justice.

HARDBALL:  Well, the German pilots…

LENORE LEFTIE:  Please, Chris.  Let's not stigmatize an entire nation, the culture that gave us Beethoven and Brahms.  Germany is a land of peace.  There are, of course, as in any country, a few aberrant…

HARDBALL:  Okay, okay, the Nazi pilots.  Does that do it for you?

LENORE LEFTIE:  Not really.  We're talking about a belief system, aren't we?  Who are we to criticize another cultural expression? Not all Nazis are pilots. Not all pilots are Nazis.

HARDBALL: Then who's bombing the hell out of you?

LENORE LEFTIE:  BBC prefers to call them "hostile actors."

HARDBALL:  All right, hostile actors.

LENORE LEFTIE:  I'm glad to see you Americans are starting to practice quality journalism.

HARDBALL:  Yeah.  Oh, by the way, what does the Brit in the street – the guy getting whacked by these bombs – think of the language you use?

LENORE LEFTIE:  I doubt if he thinks anything.  We must do his thinking for him.  Let him just clear the rubble.  I went to Oxford.

HARDBALL:  Right.  Holy Cross here.

LENORE LEFTIE:  I'll keep it simple.

HARDBALL:  Now, Lenore, I hear London is reeling.  Fires every night.  Thousands dead.  You angry about that?

LENORE LEFTIE:  The BBC frowns on anger, as a barrier to understanding.  We must get beyond anger and look at the root causes.

HARDBALL:  Which are?

LENORE LEFTIE:  Us, the Americans, and Israel.

HARDBALL:  Hold on.  It's 1940. Israel hasn't been invented yet.

LENORE LEFTIE:  You Yanks are always sticking up for them, aren't you?  We know it's your bosses in the press.  And Hadassah.

HARDBALL:  We'll talk about that later.  So this root cause…

LENORE LEFTIE:  We must ask ourselves what we did to cause the reaction of the hostile actors.

HARDBALL:  So what did we do?

LENORE LEFTIE:  Well, merely look at our Mr. Churchill.  Did he ever once try to understand the grievances these hostile actors have?  The hurt they felt after the first World War?  The constant ridicule?  Names like "huns" and "heinies" and even "gerries"?  And the Jews complain!

HARDBALL:  So it's Churchill?

LENORE LEFTIE:  Put yourself in the chair of a struggling leader in Berlin, ruling a nation that makes wonderful cameras, preparing its defenses against the warlike tendencies of racist, colonialist nations that still have kings and queens. And you listen to this fat little Brit talking about fighting on the beaches and in the cities, and declaring that "this is our finest hour."  Doesn't anyone else have a finest hour?  Why just us?  It's cultural arrogance, an indifference to the other.

HARDBALL:  The who?

LENORE LEFTIE:  The other, the ones we're taught to hate.

HARDBALL:  I was never taught to hate the hun.

LENORE LEFTIE:  You were.  You just weren't aware of the cultural cues.  And don't say the h-word.

HARDBALL:  You mentioned the Americans.  What'd we do?

LENORE LEFTIE:  What didn't you do?  You have this rich president who calls your uncultured nation the arsenal of democracy.  Who are you to send weapons to Britain to threaten others?  You do it, and we suffer.

HARDBALL:  So it's our fault that those planes with swastikas are hitting London?

LENORE LEFTIE:  Root cause, Chris.  I'm sorry the truth hurts.  And tell your president – the man doesn't know what "no smoking" means – tell him to forget these "four freedoms" of his. Who is he to prescribe the way other people live?  One man's freedom is another man's agony.

HARDBALL:  Yeah.  Bottom line, Lenore, you want to win this fight?

LENORE LEFTIE:  We at BBC wouldn't use a word like "win."  It creates a hierarchal structure.

HARDBALL:  But you want to survive, don't you?  Wait.  I just heard a huge blast.  Lenore, you there?

LENORE LEFTIE:  Yes, I'm here.  The building next to me was just leveled.  I'm coated with dust, and probably asbestos.

HARDBALL:  Lenore, take cover.

LENORE LEFTIE:  Why?  I'm an oppressor.  I see them firing anti-aircraft guns at these hostile actors.  Not in my name, they don't.  I refuse to fire without first trying to understand.

HARDBALL:  Understand who?

LENORE LEFTIE:  The Palestinians.

HARDBALL:  What does this have to do with the Palestinians?

LENORE LEFTIE:  It's the root cause of everything, Chris.




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