Friday, September 5, 2014

Head shots

Tom Wolfe, in the "The Right Stuff," exactly captured the prissiness of American newspapers when he labeled the press "the Genteel Beast."

Editors were fearless in some fields. Natural and political disasters found them armed and ready. But they quivered in the face of -- or even a suspected reaction from -- preachers and fussy old ladies (of both sexes). It was rather a big deal, and required some discussion among the higher-ups, before my story about Aloha Condoms was printed in The Maui News. The paper had never allowed the word condom before.

That was five years into the AIDS scare.

And we all remember that American papers refused to print the Danish Mohammed cartoons.

When it comes to beheadings, America's news editors are going to protect us from anything so upsetting -- as long as none of us have Internet access. And they have been doing this right along.

As RtO pointed out in the previous post, "Heads you lose," part of the reason the ISIL beheadings were so shocking -- and therefore, arguably, useful for ISIL to conduct -- is that most Americans don't know how much beheading goes on around the world all the time.

"America's Rabbi" Shmuley Boteach ran up against the Genteel Beast and is using it just as ISIL does, to make political hay.

America's newspaper editors. On the whole I admire them and I was one, once. But they are easy to sucker.

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