16 August, 2012



While the rest of us have been watching the Queen's granddaughter riding a dancing horse, or pretending that we were watching teams of fit young totty swinging hockey sticks at each other purely out of academic interest — honest, officer, I'm researching zettai ryouiki as part of my Japanese Studies degree — all the while the Righteous have been working themselves up into a frenzy of indignation over an adverb.

I learn of this via Sunny-ji, who froths concisely at

Watch: CNN reporter – Sikhs targeted “unfairly”

to general applause below the line.

The underlying story is of course that one of America's numerous roving mad gunmen has attacked the congregation of a gurdwara in Wisconsin, killing six worshippers and a copper. Wade Page is no longer available for interview but, we are told, was a White man with a "9/11 tattoo" and "white supremacist" affiliations. The inference being picked up by the media is that the attack might have been in retribution for the 9/11 atrocity, something which, outside of the Truther community, is acknowledged to have been carried out by Islamist extremists. The perpetrator may have mistaken his Sikh victims for Muslims, or perhaps more plausibly decided that one bunch of wogs is as bad, and as culpable, as any other.

Unpleasant but by no means implausible.

So what's all the fuss about, then? The CNN newsreader described the Sikh community as having been unfairly targeted.

Well I don't know about you, but I'd take that in the same way as describing young Thusha Kamaleswaran's shooting as being unfair. Remember her? A 5-year-old child playing in her father's shop and caught by crossfire during a gang shooting. That was unfair. Unfair in the sense that life is unfair and arbitrary. Unfair in the sense that she was totally uninvolved in the grievance-match that inspired the shooting but happened to be, as the phrase has it, in the wrong place at the wrong time.

And so with the shooting of the Wisconsin Sikhs. It was unfair on them, in some vague karmic sense, being shot for being bearded brown-skinned men with funny hats by someone who presumably had a grievance against other bearded brown-skinned men some of whom wore funny hats.

But that wasn't good enough for the Righteous. To describe the attack on the Sikhs as "unfair" is, apparently, necessarily to imply that an attack on the "appropriate" target, Muslims, would have been acceptable. White man, it would seem, speak with forked tongue. Everything he say is racist, however he hides it.

Hmm. There are times when a Jewish joke is called for. (Identifiably Jewish perhaps only in the sense that I heard it told by Milton Shulman, but it is very much of that genre.)

Mrs Goldberg buys her son the doctor a birthday present, a pair of nice silk ties. Come the next duty visit to the parental home, the son, suppressing his sartorial instincts in favour of filial piety and the knowledge that he will be under close inspection, selects the less horrendous of the two ties to wear.

As he enters the parental parlour, his mother looks him up and down and greets him.

"So, you don't like the other tie!"

Pointless to engage with the Righteous other than in guerilla warfare, I increasingly feel. They always have another tie with which to condemn you.

If the left looks for 'meaning' they will find it. he wasa white man and therefore, well, he had 'affiliations.'

I have no doubt the gunman was a nasty person who may once, the way tattoos are, have thought it a good idea to be decorated with his fave grievance. Who knows, perhaps it was on offer at his local tat parlour for half price.

There is, and this would be terribly unfair to say, the possibility that the man didn't like anyone much and one group is as much a target as any other. Indeed, gatherings of people make handy and swift targets for their angst.

But then he could have just made a bomb the way the members of certain cults and done even more damage. We should be thankful for small mercies he hadn't attended a training class in, say, Goshistan.

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