Monday, October 4, 2010

Rick Sanchez Plays the Victim, Blames the Jews

Rick Sanchez, a CNN afternoon anchorman, in a September 30 radio interview, on the "Stand Up with Pete Dominick" program, whined about being an oppressed Cuban American, claimed that his oppression as a Cuban American trumps anyone else's oppression, and blamed the Jews for his oppression. Transcript.

Rick Sanchez makes me want to puke.

How to say, "Rick Sanchez makes me want to puke" in a socially appropriate way?

Best effort: identity politics is a cultivated lie, involving cultivated resentment, a cultivated insistence on one's own innocence and helplessness and others' omnipotence and total evil. Identity politics destroys human life. That destruction isn't an abstraction. It looks like the on-camera torture of Reginald Denny by a group of African Americans who felt that their oppression justified their dragging a random white man out of a truck and smashing him in the head with a claw hammer, and then doing even worse things to his unconscious body. It looks like the anti-Chinese pogroms in Jakarta, Indonesia in the 1998. Google it – you'll find photos that will make your skin crawl. Men post on the web their tortures of Chinese women. Identity politics looks like the Kielce pogrom and the Holocaust and the murder of an innocent little girl, Anastasia.

Humans tell themselves all kinds of lies. Identity politics is among the most deadly and inexcusable.

Rick Sanchez is nobody's victim, and neither are Cuban Americans. Rick Sanchez was a CNN news anchor, for crying out loud. And yet he played the homeless hobo shut out in the cold by the "white folks" who "don't see" how oppressed he is. Cuban Americans have a higher median income than those "white folks" who allegedly oppress poor Rick Sanchez. Wikipedia: "US-born Cuban Americans have a higher median income than even non-Hispanic whites, $50,000 as compared to $48,000 for non-Hispanic whites." Though Cuban Americans are wealthier than others, they benefit from Affirmative Action hiring practices that favor Hispanics. Cuban Americans are likely to get jobs slotted for Hispanic Americans rather than non-Cuban Hispanics, like Mexicans.

Cuban Americans are kingmakers. Both Democrat and Republican politicians kowtow to Cuban Americans and several questions of US domestic and foreign policy hinge on whether or not they please very politically active Cuban Americans.

After identifying himself as a Cuban American victim of white American oppression, Rick Sanchez made quite the leap: "Jon Stewart's a bigot."

Why is Stewart a bigot? Identity Politics' cultivated sense of resentment, and imaging of the hated others' goodies, bleeds out of Sanchez's comments: "Great, I'm so happy that he [Stewart] grew up in a suburban middle class New Jersey home with everything that you could ever imagine." Um, no. Stewart didn't have a father. Not quite everything.

Sanchez isn't just imaging Stewart's past. He's imagining his present: Stewart shuts out of his show "everybody else who's not like him. Look at his show! What does he surround himself with?" A coded reference to Jews. The problem is that Stewart has plenty of non-Jews on his show. That doesn't matter. What matters is the imagination of the one playing identity politics.

Imagine Stewart grew up with everything. Imagine that he surrounds himself with Jews. Imagine that he spends his every waking moment oppressing you, poor Rick Sanchez: "That's what happens when you watch yourself on his show every day and all they ever do is call you stupid." I've seen the Daily Show. I've never seen Jon Stewart call Hispanics stupid. Can Sanchez provide one, just one, concrete example?

Pete Dominick, the radio show's host, would have none of Sanchez's pity-me, identity-politics imaginings. He broke in: "Well if he's bigoted against the ignorant fine! If he's bigoted against the apathetic and he's being elitist saying that others are stupid, but what group specifically … calling somebody a bigot, but against who?" Dominick pressed, "You're not giving me a specific example."

Rick pulled one of the anti-Semite's favorite cards: WE – non-Jews – labor. THEY – Jews – don't. This is a classic anti-Semitic trope. Good people, non-Jews, earn their bread by the sweat of their brow. Jews earn their living by thinking. Thinking doesn't count as labor. So we can hate them. (And eventually kill them, but Sanchez doesn't take it that far. He's satisfied with just imagining and hating – merely the prep work for killing.)

Pete Dominick will have none of this. "I'm a standup comedian. I've been a standup comedian for 15 years. It's a really, really difficult job. It's filled with failure, it's filled with travel, it's filled with hard work. We might not be out there doing you know physical labor like your dad did, but I don't think it's fair to define necessarily… He (Stewart) worked very hard and I'm telling you he puts in twelve hours a day on that show, and his staff respects him, and I don't agree with anything. I don't know his parents, but I've worked for him."

But Sanchez isn't really interested in arguing the point about work. Maybe because an anchorman arguing that Jon Stewart, a fake anchorman, doesn't work as hard as he, the real anchorman does, could only look ridiculous. Sanchez wants to go after an easier target: The Jews. Who run the world, doncha know: "I'm telling you that everybody who runs CNN is a lot like Stewart, and a lot of people who run all the other networks are a lot like Stewart, and to imply that somehow they, the people in this country who are Jewish, are an oppressed minority? Yeah."

Again, I'm stuck on this sentiment: Rick Sanchez makes me want to puke.

Because how do you have a rational conversation with anyone who thinks that Jews run the world?

You don't. You can't. Identity politics is an evil lie, and so is anti-Semitism. Those who invest in these positions have already exempted themselves from rational discourse.

But, just for the heck of it, let's take a whack at rational discourse.

CNN was founded by Ted Turner. Ted Turner is a white, Southern male who was raised in an Episcopalian home. For God's sake, he has kids named "Rhett" and "Beauregard." (Which, if you have a Rick Sanchez secret decoder ring, turns out to be "Shlomo" and "Moishe"!!!) Turner labeled Christianity a "religion for losers," and identified his wife's, Jane Fonda's conversion to Christianity as playing a role in their divorce, but that doesn't make him Jewish, it makes him a Christophobe.

In any case. Saying "Jews run the media" or "Jews run the world," in addition to being an inflammatory, hatemongering statement, is an attempt by the Rick Sanchezes of this world to avoid personal or group responsibility.

What are the stats on Hispanic book purchasing?

Look – every time you buy a book, *you* run the media. Every time you turn on a TV station, *you* run the media. Every time you buy a newspaper, *you* run the media. Every time you buy a ticket for a movie, *you* run the media. Ditto song downloads, radio tuning, news article emailing. If Jews do any of these things more than Hispanics do, why blame Jews? Why not blame Hispanics?

I've been doing some publicity for my own book, "Bieganski." Two – and it really has been only two – Polish-American men promised me that they would never purchase "Bieganski," because they never purchase books. Books are too expensive to purchase. And not worth it. And then these two Polish-American men (and, thank God, it has been only two) went on to rant to me that JEWS CONTROL THE MEDIA.

These two Polish-American men who refuse to buy books and who insisted that Jews control the media – make me want to puke.

Sanchez insisted that he is victimized, because he is Cuban American, one of the wealthiest and most politically powerful ethnic groups in the US today, and he insisted, further, that no Jew can claim any victimization: "to imply that somehow they, the people in this country who are Jewish, are an oppressed minority? Yeah," he said, derisively.

The political game board in America today is an identity politics game board. Students applying for college admission, for scholarships, young people applying for jobs, politicians running for office: all these people gain or lose points depending on their ethnicity and gender. Victimization is a commodity. It brings in big bucks. At Indiana University, a mover and shaker on campus, an African American man, told me that he worked hard to silence any claim by women and homosexuals that they suffered discrimination. He did so, he openly admitted, because dollars accrued to those who could claim to be oppressed, and he wanted those dollars going to blacks. Any dollar spent on programs for gay students or women was a dollar, in his limited-good worldview, not spent on blacks.

He, too, made me want to puke.

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Bieganski the Blog exists to further explore the themes of the book Bieganski the Brute Polak Stereotype, Its Role in Polish-Jewish Relations and American Popular Culture.
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