To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle.
--- George Orwell

Thursday, April 9, 2020

There Are Dead Rabbis All Over Jersey But The NYT Hasn't Done The Story & Won't Say Why

To: Clifford Levy, Metro Editor NYT
Fr: William McGowan
Date: April 7, 2020
Re: NYT COVID Coverage of Orthodox Jews in Lakewood, NJ

Hi Cliff: I'm a journalist and author in NYC. Wrote Coloring the News and Gray Lady Down, among others.  Contribute to a variety mainstream publications. Doing a freelance piece (either for CJR , WSJ or City Journal) focused on how identity politics has infected mainstream media coverage of Coronavirus. 

Looking at the NYT lack of coverage abt Orthodox Jews in Lakewood NJ and the anti Semitism it has triggered in the form of social media outrage, FB deplatforming and at least one arrest. Five rabbis from Lakewood have died, among more than two dozen rabbis in the Metro area of NY and NJ. Police say enforcing stay-at-home orders are a "daily" challenge. Ambo drivers taking Orthodox Jewish corona victims (I use the term "victims" advisedly) to Philadelphia bc area hospitals are overflowing and local med staff not in the best of moods given the defiant, irresponsible conduct of their Jewish neighbors who just haven't demonstrated that they believe "We're all in this together."  

Questions, for the record:
*Has the ADL put any pressure on you, personally or institutionally, not to report this story in a timely and unbiased manner? If so, who? Oren Siegel? Jonathan Greenblatt?
*Is there a certain ethnocentric anxiety on the part of you or any other Times editors that has fed a reluctance to do what shd be an obvious story in the timely manner it shd be done given the urgency of the crisis and the need for the public to have this kind of information? 
*Has NJ Gov. Phil Murphy's office played any role in this lack of reporting? If so, is this accession to censorship? 
*Has AG Sulzberger had any convos on this with you or other editors in the running to succeed Dean Baquet? 

Pls know, I'm not alleging any kind of conspiracy theory or tropes here, al la the Protocols. Just looking for answers that any journalist worth is salt wd ask in the face of the Times lack of attention here. Other than a story a few weeks ago abt the FDNY busting up a Hasidic wedding in Williamsburg, the only Times person who has gone near this issue is Bari Weiss and she did so only in the most ethnocentric and ethnically defensive manner.  

Thanks. Stay safe.

William (Bill) McGowan

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

It's No Joke: April Will Be 'The Cruellest Month'

The view outside my window in Hell's Kitchen, April 1, 2020 

I. The Burial of the Dead

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.
Bin gar keine Russin, stamm’ aus Litauen, echt deutsch.
And when we were children, staying at the arch-duke’s,
My cousin’s, he took me out on a sled,
And I was frightened. He said, Marie,
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.
In the mountains, there you feel free.
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.

 What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
                      Frisch weht der Wind
                      Der Heimat zu
                      Mein Irisch Kind,
                      Wo weilest du?
“You gave me hyacinths first a year ago;
“They called me the hyacinth girl.”
—Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden,
Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not
Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither
Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,
Looking into the heart of light, the silence.
Oed’ und leer das Meer.

Madame Sosostris, famous clairvoyante,
Had a bad cold, nevertheless
Is known to be the wisest woman in Europe,
With a wicked pack of cards. Here, said she,
Is your card, the drowned Phoenician Sailor,
(Those are pearls that were his eyes. Look!)
Here is Belladonna, the Lady of the Rocks,
The lady of situations.
Here is the man with three staves, and here the Wheel,
And here is the one-eyed merchant, and this card,
Which is blank, is something he carries on his back,
Which I am forbidden to see. I do not find
The Hanged Man. Fear death by water.
I see crowds of people, walking round in a ring.
Thank you. If you see dear Mrs. Equitone,
Tell her I bring the horoscope myself:
One must be so careful these days.

Unreal City,
Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,
A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,
I had not thought death had undone so many.
Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,
And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.
Flowed up the hill and down King William Street,
To where Saint Mary Woolnoth kept the hours
With a dead sound on the final stroke of nine.
There I saw one I knew, and stopped him, crying: “Stetson!
“You who were with me in the ships at Mylae!
“That corpse you planted last year in your garden,
“Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year?
“Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed?
“Oh keep the Dog far hence, that’s friend to men,
“Or with his nails he’ll dig it up again!
“You! hypocrite lecteur!—mon semblable,—mon frère!”

---TS Eliot, The Wasteland