Hot Air

Teach Yourself

The ex-big bossman of British Jews, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, appeared on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday this morning to deliver the obligatory PR for his own boss, god.

The interviewer brought up an episode wherein that Brit kid named Harry, who has no job but is rich because he’s in line to become the toothless leader of the toothless former empire, was compelled to come see Sacks to get a spanking a few years ago. See, Harry’d gone to a costume party dressed up as a Nazi officer, which is a real riot unless, of course, you’d happen to have lost all your parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles in Hitler and Himmler’s Final Solution.

Sun Front Page

R. Sacks chewed Harry out and Harry followed up with the most heartfelt of apologies. Well, not really. Harry himself didn’t apologize at all but the publicity office of purposeless UK royal family issued a statement saying that he “has apologised for any offence or embarrassment he has caused.” The kid may have gathered a gang of Final Solution survivors in the office where he performs his non-job to beg their forgiveness for his sartorial faux pas but no record of any such personal mea culpa exists.

Anyway, the Rabbi revealed that Harry was shocked to learn about the Holocaust when he came in for his tongue-lashing — even though he’d attended all the best schools in England. Sacks said it was an indictment of the British school system.

I’ve got news for him: I went through 16 years of parochial and private schools in this holy land and I am prepared to testify in a court of law that I never once heard the term Holocaust uttered in any class.

Yet, I knew of it from the time I was at least 10 years old. I’d read newspapers and magazines, thumbed through encyclopediae, and watched TV documentaries. It seems anybody who’s been alive from the year 1945 on should know of the Holocaust.

Holocaust/Public Domain

Really? Harry Never Once Saw A Photo Like This?

Dig: I’ve never heard a single note from any Taylor Swift recording, but I know a few things about her. You do, too. Any of us can identify her as that vanilla country singer who was once humiliated onstage after receiving a Grammy award. For that matter, I’ve never heard a single note of any Kanye West recording, but I know who he is, especially the part about him humiliating Taylor Swift onstage.

I needn’t have studied pop music history in a top-flight institution of higher learning to know these things. There is the phenomenon, after all, of cultural osmosis.

So, why wouldn’t a rich kid who attended all the best schools and, presumably, had access to books, newspapers, magazines, and documentaries know at least a little something about the Holocaust? All you need to know is one thing: the figure, six million. Once you know that, how can anything else you learn about the program of extermination be shocking?

So, yeah, Rabbi, the schools of our two Anglo nations (well, our own nation is only sort-of Anglo anymore) are indeed lacking in many ways, but it’s incumbent upon each and every one of us to actually learn things on our own.

A young man of wealth, privilege, and entitlement who doesn’t know about the Holocaust is an idiot.


One thought on “Hot Air

  1. marc haggerty says:

    i learned of the holocaust in 5th grade by reading the encyclopedia. after reading it i felt betrayed by all adults for not telling me.

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