Friday, June 10, 2011

Inside the Mind of a Bigot

Her burden is very heavy. Polish peasant woman, from LIFE magazine. source

"TOOTHLESS, UNEDUCATED, ANTI-SEMITIC POLISH PEASANTS, names absent or misspelled, impossible objects of identification…Lanzmann wanted to make an important point about the continuity of CHRISTIAN ANTI-SEMITISM after and despite the Holocaust … There is an undeniable moral and aesthetic power to the scenes in which POLISH PEASANTS REVEAL THEIR ANTI-SEMITIC UNDERSTANDING OF THE WORLD in their very descriptions of the Holocaust … how does Lanzmann direct this power? He flatters us with it, unmistakably separating the western allies from A BARBAROUS POLISH COUNTRYSIDE where such things as DEATH FACILITIES could be erected." 

– Timothy Snyder, author, "Bloodlands," writing in The New York Review of Books


What makes anti-Polish bigotry tick?

The following series of posts offers one answer to the question.

This series of blog posts travels inside the mind of an anti-Polish bigot. Much of this is discussed in "Bieganski," a book that offers an x-ray into the anatomy and physiology of bigotry.

1.) The first post offers an introduction.

2.) The second post discusses the concept of universal human progress, its nineteenth century refiners, and its modern-day adherents.

3.) The third post points out echoes of ideas of universal human progress in discussions of Polish-Jewish relations, and points out that these echoes are fallacies.

4.) The fourth post mentions facts that prove the bigots wrong. Polish peasants are entirely capable of ethical behavior.

5.) The fifth post points out that Polish moral leaders responded appropriately to atrocity. Polonia has not adequately communicated their story, and their efforts have been all but forgotten.

To view the next post in this series, Peasants: Bad, Elites: Good, click here.

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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.
These themes include the false and damaging stereotype of Poles as brutes who are uniquely hateful and responsible for atrocity, and this stereotype's use in distorting WW II history and all accounts of atrocity.
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