In one of those rare Gabrielquotes single-issue blog posts, we take an in-depth look at a topic of contemporary importance.
There was a bit of a brouhaha on Wednesday: “SHOOTING AT KOSHER RESTAURANT IN LONDON!!!!” as The Twitter put it; and, “Everyone should relax!” as the owner of said restaurant put it.
On close examination, the excitement provides a useful illustration of The Four Stages of The Jewish Communal Response to an Incident:
Something happens. Then people who don’t know what happened tweet uninformed interpretations of some of the things that ‘could of’ happened, and do their best to cause perturbation and despair.
As the underlying assumption is always that whenever something bad happens to a Jew, it happened because they are a Jew, the CST will rapidly move in on the scene.
Ideally, at this stage, comparisons should begin being drawn to other events that are potentially comparable, even though the accuracy of said comparisons will obviously depend on the as-yet unknown details of what’s actually happened. References to Paris, Munich and Auschwitz normally go down well.
Bereft of anything factual to sustain the adrenaline rush that everyone worked themselves into at Stage 1, the Great Uninformed will express greatly uninformed doubts about the facts confirmed in Stage 2.
Tweets at this point in the proceedings will not actually require any objective basis, being based instead on people’s general experience of life (“How can anything ‘random’ happen to anyone Jewish?!”) – rather than on such parochial concerns as reality.
Because these comments are over-egging things – why isn’t there a proper antonym for ‘trivialise’? – they will often end up sounding slightly tortuous, eg. by describing the story of a smashed window as “breaking” news.
The proper title for this stage is disputed. Some call it Refusal to climb down. Having built the incident up into front-page news before discovering that, far from being the Paris II longed for by the authors, it is in fact of negligible page 8 interest at most, it is necessary somehow to maintain its prestige – perhaps with authoritative-sounding use of a made-up term such as…
Yes, that’s right: it was another one of those damnable random marble attacks of the sort that have plagued the Jewish people (and all those who lived in the same village as Just William) for centuries. The JC didn’t even have the grace to put the phrase in quotation marks, instead just blithely pretending that random marble attacks are ‘a thing’.
Also in the news this week: