September 15, 2011
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Everyone is entitled to an informed opinion. No one is entitled to his or her own facts. If you’re going to make a claim, if you want to make a point about something, you better have more than just your hearsay and point of view.
Apparently, one Sarah Grunfeld, a senior at York University, lacks the kind of reasoning skills that allow most infants to not try to eat their own diapers.
Here’s what happened.
Professor Cameron Johnston, a 30-year veteran of the university’s faculty, was teaching a class where he sought to show that not everyone is entitled to an opinion. Some opinions, he said, are dangerous and unacceptable. To show his point, he used the example, “All Jews should be sterilized.” Being Jewish himself, Johnston used the phrase to show a point of view that was not grounded in anything but racism and hatred, a blatant example of the kind of “opinions” that are out there.
Grunfeld, however, was apparently playing Angry Birds, or checking Facebook, or who knows what, because all she heard was “All Jews should be sterilized.”
After she sent her complaint to a Jewish advocacy group and the allegation of blatant anti-Semitism spread through the community and people called on Johnston to resign, the truth came out. She didn’t hear the whole thing and, worse, she was unaware the professor who said it was himself Jewish.
And once everyone knew the context of the statement, of course the whole thing blew over. After all, this had been hyped in the media and a professor with decades of experience being pressured to resign.
Well, no, it wasn’t over.
While the backlash against Johnston is gone, Grunfeld refuses to apologize. She’s not even sure that making that statement as an example is any more acceptable. To her, the fact that someone used this phrase, regardless of context, is a crime against the Jewish community.
I’d like to invite Miss Grunfeld to visit the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC. They have quite the collection of World War II films and propaganda. Some of it is quite horrifically racist for obvious reasons. Would Grunfeld say this museum needs to be shut down because, ignoring context, the museum is promoting hatred of Jews?
Context is everything. I talk about a lot stuff here. I’ve called Sarah Palin “retarded” in the context of her using her handicapped son to get pity. I’ve written racial slurs to discuss them and make a point. I had an entire article that called for rich white guys to be monitored like terrorists. It was satire, but I’m not sure Grunfeld knows how to pronounce it.
Grunfeld is either too stubborn to admit she made a mistake or she’s actually dumb enough to believe that a word, regardless of context, is insulting. If I was the dean, I would force her to apologize to Johnston in a very public forum. Barring that, I would make sure she retook every one of her college classes until she learned the basic logic skills possessed by rudimentary cabbage.
And now, here’s something that also has no brain, but it’s actually entertaining.