MONDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2022
Concerning Kyrie's link: Ignore the things you've always been told about "the rational animal."
Forget all that "rational animal" stuff! The Crazy has relentlessly played a leading role in our war-suffused human affairs.
No one died in the Tulip Craze, though quite a few people went broke. (According to the leading authority on this "mania," an outbreak of the bubonic plague helped bring the affair to its end.)
Other times, The Crazy has led us humans to waves of murder and violence. That brings us to the film, and by extension the book, to which NBA star Kyrie Irving famously linked.
For understandable reasons, major news orgs may not want to repeat the crazy claims found in such films and such books. As an example of what we mean, consider what the New York Times included—and what it omitted—in yesterday's front-page report.
In print editions, the report appeared on the Times' front page. Online, the report appears beneath this pair of headlines:
Between Kanye and the Midterms, the Unsettling Stream of Antisemitism
For American Jews, this fall has become increasingly worrisome. On Thursday alone, the F.B.I. warned of threats to New Jersey synagogues and the Nets suspended Kyrie Irving.
The Nets had suspended Kyrie Irving, that sub-headline declared. Eventually, Irving was mentioned in the body of the report, but this is all that was said:
PAULSON AND GRAHAM (11/6/22): For many Jewish people across the country, the sense that overtly antisemitic rhetoric is emanating from so many spheres simultaneously is unsettling.
Steve Rosenberg, a former executive at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, said he was put “over the edge” by an incident last weekend in which a prominent basketball player, Nets guard Kyrie Irving, defended his support of an antisemitic documentary (and garnered praise from [Kanye West] in the process). On Thursday, the Nets suspended Mr. Irving indefinitely, citing his “failure to disavow antisemitism.” He posted an apology on Instagram late Thursday night.
Readers were told that Irving had linked to an antisemitic documentary. But what had this documentary said? What was the nature of its alleged antisemitism?
Yesterday's report didn't say. Readers would have to trust the New York Times' assessment of the film.
Yesterday's report didn't describe the contents of the film—but there was nothing new about this. This pattern had been established in the paper's earlier reporting.
In print editions on October 31, the Times had published an initial report about Irving's link to the film. This is the way the report began, headline included:
Irving Stands by Postings About Antisemitic Documentary and Conspiracy Theory
Nets guard Kyrie Irving doubled down on his support of an antisemitic documentary and a “New World Order” conspiracy theory about secret societies during a testy news conference Saturday night, a day after his team’s owner chastised him for supporting the film.
The conspiracy theory, pushed by the Infowars host Alex Jones, falsely suggests that people in the government are working to enslave the human population by, among other methods, releasing viruses.
“History is not supposed to be hidden from anybody,” Irving said as he defended himself for posting a link on Twitter to the 2018 documentary “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,” which espouses several antisemitic tropes.
“Did I do anything illegal?” Irving said. “Did I hurt anybody? Did I harm anybody? Am I going out and saying that I hate one specific group of people?”
Irving posted about the documentary on Twitter and Instagram in the past week, and the Nets owner Joe Tsai rebuked him in a statement Friday, saying that he was “disappointed.”
According to Sopan Deb's report, Irving had supported a "New World Order conspiracy theory" promulgated by the lunatic Alex Jones. Also, Irving had supported "an antisemitic documentary," New York Times readers were told.
You'll note that Deb described the content of Jones' lunatic theory. But nowhere did Deb describe the content of the "several antisemitic tropes" allegedly found in the film.
It's understandable that major news orgs report such matters this way. News orgs may feel that describing the content of such material may serve to spread these antisemitic claims even further. Understandably, news orgs may be reluctant to play any such role in this latest manifestation of The Manifestly Insane.
It's understandable that news orgs may adopt that point of view. In the end, it seems to us that this keeps us from grasping the extent of the role The Crazy plays in our human affairs.
What kinds of "antisemitic tropes" are present in the film to which Irving offered a link? How crazy would Irving have to be to put his faith in such claims?
Simply put, a reader can't answer such questions from reading the New York Times. Consider a second report in Sunday's Times about Irving's deranged behavior.
In print editions, this second report appeared inside the National section, on page A21. Online, Troy Closson's report appears beneath this headline:
Kyrie Irving’s Links to Antisemitism Horrify His Many Jewish Fans.
Once again, the lengthy report makes no attempt to describe the content of the film to which Irving posted a link. Eventually, though, Closson wrote the following—and Closson himself provided a link in support of what he had said:
CLOSSON (11/6/22): Before last season, the guard declined to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, and played in just 29 of 82 regular-season games, missing many because of a New York City mandate requiring the vaccination of all private sector employees in the city that made him ineligible to compete at Barclays Center.
But many fans said that his prowess as one of the league’s most talented guards eclipsed his off-the-court controversies: When he played his first home game in March after more than nine months away, the crowd broke a turnout record for a Nets game, and Mr. Irving received the loudest cheers when starting lineups were announced.
But patience for his behavior has faltered this week, after his comments and what many fans saw as a slow and halfhearted attempt to walk them back. After facing backlash for posting the link to the 2018 documentary “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,” which espouses several antisemitic tropes, Mr. Irving said in a statement six days later, “I am aware of the negative impact of my post towards the Jewish community and I take responsibility.”
Again, readers were told that the film in question "espouses several antisemitic tropes." Once again, Closson made no attempt to report what those antisemitic tropes might be—but good Lord!
Under the words "which espouses several antisemitic tropes," Closson provided a link to a report which did describe those claims! Readers would finally get the chance to learn what this crackpot film said!
Closson provided a link—but his link didn't lead to some earlier report in the New York Times. Instead, Closson was forced to link to this derailed report from by Jon Blistein in RollingStone.
What sorts of "antisemitic tropes" does Irving seem to be supporting? You can't find out in the New York Times! You have to go that other source to understand the craziness of what Irving has done.
The Crazy suffuses our national discourse at the present time. It's also true that The Crazy has played a persistent role in our war-suffused human affairs.
How crazy are the crazy claims which Irving seems to be espousing? Tomorrow, we'll show you what RollingStone has reported, even as we marvel at the dainty ways the New York Times has been avoiding such content.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep—but our species is stalked by The Crazy. Whether with Donald J. Trump or Kyrie Irving, our upper-end mainstream press is often inclined to "walk on by" such manifestations.
Such decisions may be understandable, but they keep us all in the dark. Tomorrow, we'll show you the extent of The Crazy which apparently seemed to make sense to this athletically talented, but very strange, major NBA star.
Tomorrow: RollingStone reports