Life at № 42
One of the less talked about films of last year was Denial. Not as cheerful as La La Land or dramatic as Fences, it tells the story of the libel case against historian Deborah Lipstadt. The case was brought by holocaust denier David Irving. The trailer of the film gives you an idea of how Mr. Irving operates, which is by using some of the classical techniques of psychosocial manipulation. He seeks attention through polemics and then if anyone contradicts or dismisses his ideas he claims persecution. Remind you of anyone?
Irving lost the case. In the decision Justice Charles Gray says:
“In my view the Defendants have established that Irving has a political agenda. It is one which, it is legitimate to infer, disposes him, where he deems it necessary, to manipulate the historical record in order to make it conform with his political beliefs. 3
Irving was motivated by a desire to present events in a manner consistent with his own ideological beliefs even if that involved distortion and manipulation of historical evidence.” 4
“In my opinion there is force in the opinion expressed by Evans13 that all Irving’s historiographical “errors” converge, in the sense that they all tend to exonerate Hitler and to reflect Irving’s partisanship for the Nazi leader. If indeed they were genuine errors or mistakes, one would not expect to find this consistency. I accept the Defendants’ contention that this convergence is a cogent reason for supposing that the evidence has been deliberately slanted by Irving.“14
Everything the judge says comes down to the treatment/categorization of evidence. As David Cannadine put it: “Irving has consistently applied an evidential double standard, demanding absolute documentary proof to convict the Germans (as when he sought to show that Hitler was not responsible for the Holocaust), while relying on circumstantial evidence to condemn the British (as in his account of the Allied bombing of Dresden).” This, of course, is neither new nor unusual. It’s the same method used by opponents of the teaching of evolution or opponents of gay adoption. The latter do the most entertaining mental acrobatics when they say all of the 99% of the science that supports gay adoptions is wrong, but the one study which agrees with their religion is unquestionably correct.
Absurdity, but not just absurdity.
I’ve read a few articles recently which tried (and failed miserably) to make the case that the “rise” of clowns like Yiannopoulos, and/or even Trump’s election, are the responsibility of the left leaning press and the safe-space brigade. Not the fault of Breitbart and Fox News, not the fault of a spectacular media machine, not the fault of demagoguery, not the fault of manipulation- no. The rise of this imbecile:
… is the fault of a Prius driving Tiffany who eats quinoa, reads the Guardian and spent her gap year digging wells in Africa? Hardly. The argument is so fantastically flawed I don’t know how the people making them haven’t been laughed off of the public stage already. Don’t get me wrong, I too find Tiffany annoying as hell- but in the grand scheme of things Tiffany and her fellow armpit hair braiders aren’t really a threat to civilization. Implying their annoyance could be responsible for the “success” (let’s see how long that lasts) of the opportunistic Yiannopoulos or Trump is simply mathematically ridiculous. And any educated person pushing that line is, in no uncertain terms, a total wanker. And that my friends is Wanker Theory.