UPDATE: Credit where it’s due, Bomber has now apologised for his follow up post. He’s also left the offending text there with a strike-through, so that it’s still part of historical record if anyone wants to see it but indicates his changed views. I appreciate both actions, thank you.
There’s this meme going around a (small) circle of NZ liberals at the moment that the left eats its young/is on the lookout for traitors/etc. Basically, because a post on The Daily Blog was criticised for consisting almost entirely of a stereotypical caricature of an evil-looking Jewish Santa Claus taken directly (and I mean that literally) from an anti-Semitic website. Apparently it was supposed to be anti-consumerist with the text that was added, but a few people noticed the obvious similarity to anti-Semitic images and pointed it out. Bomber responded by asking for a link to prove the claims. I assume one was provided, but I’ve scrolled back to December 17 in the Gallery and the entire post seems to have been deleted along with the image, so unless people got screen shots no one can actually see what was said. However, Bomber’s newer post says that Russell Brown and Giovanni Tiso started a twitter campaign against him, and both of their timelines are intact, so this can be fact-checked easily.
Russell Brown: The first reference on his timeline to the situation is a reply to Giovanni that simpy says “Holy shit. That’s awful.” For a while after this he watches some sports, then sometime around 6 last night he replies to another brief conversation with the link to the page where the original image is used in context. Two tweets later, he shows Bomber the link and tells him to take the “ghastly anti-semitic” image down. Then nothing for three hours, until he comments that of two options, Bomber acting maliciously or ignorantly, he favours the latter. This is the sum total of Russell’s Twitter discussions on the subject until Bomber’s new post went up.
Giovanni Tiso: Two days ago, James Robb links to the original post asking if anyone else sees the anti-Semitic caricature. There’s a conversation where several people express disgust, which Gio joins after several tweets stating he has no idea who posted it and thinks it’s appalling. He then proceeds to eat some Roses chocolates and possibly fudge (the rat bastard, I love Roses and fudge!). Yesterday, he tweets a link to the original post to note that 16 hours after it was pointed out to them (from memory by James Robb), the “horrid anti-Semitic caricature” is still there. He then discusses the historical context of the imagery over a few tweets with interested parties before notifying his followers that Bomber is standing by the image and wants to be shown proof that it’s anti-Semitic. This is where Russell’s tweet to the original image, embedded in original context, enters. “Holy shit!” Gio tweets. Following this is more discussion of the maliciousness vs ignorance debate, which Gio also believes is the latter, as do others that he retweets. Sometime after 7 last night he says, independent of other conversation, “When the best case scenario is that you’re an incredibly ignorant person, it may be time to re-evaluate where you’re at.” In following tweets he continues to debate maliciousness vs ignorance until possibly his harshest two tweets:
“Followed by this from Bradbury, which I can’t RT because he blocked me: @punkscience the right look for converts, the left look for traitors”
“Any similarities with Willie and JT and with every other entitled male fuck-up who paints self as victim is purely coincidental.”
So. This twitter attack consists of: Russell finding an image to be awful, asking Bomber to take it down, and later giving him the benefit of the doubt in assuming he honestly didn’t know; and Giovanni finding the image to be appalling, noting that nothing has been done after 16 hours, discussing the history of anti-Semitic imagery, being shocked at the page it was originally from, and agreeing with Russell that Bomber probably didn’t do it on purpose. Then he says that ignorance is probably something people should strive to not be, and compares Bomber’s positioning of himself as victim of a targeted witch hunt to Willie and JT doing the same thing.
I don’t know about anyone else, but that doesn’t seem like much of an attack. They both think he didn’t know how bad the image was, but both are distressed by the image and ask him to take it down. Giovanni talks with a few other people about anti-Semitic imagery in general, and criticises the tendency of men who screw up to paint themselves as victims.
In response, this is what Bomber had to say:
“I was surprised with the venom of their twitter attacks as the meme was an anti-capitalism Christmas satire, and certainly wasn’t an anti-Semitism statement. What was most amusing was the total lack of a benefit of the doubt and just the defamatory assertion by Tiso and Brown that I and this blog are supposedly anti-Semitic. When Tiso was called racist for his attack on two Maori broadcasters by Donna Awatere Huata, I gave Tiso the benefit of the doubt that he wasn’t a double standards racist and when Russell Brown managed to con Maori TV into taking his shit circle jerk TV show, I gave him the benefit of the doubt that it would be more than an aging hipster interviewing his small circle of chums to pat each other on the back for their own sense of magnificence.
I won’t be providing that benefit of doubt from now on, I relish the weekly opportunity to review Brown’s new show on Maori TV and question how and why Maori TV should be propping up a middle class white fog horn like Brown for his unique brand of pretentious wank, and Tiso’s sanctimonious whining has worn through any patience I once had with him.
Insinuating people are anti-Semites is a tactic trick of the IDF, despite Tiso and Browns assertions, I am not an anti-Semite and this blog isn’t anti-Semitic, the image selected by the TDB reposter was an anti-Capitalism piece of satire. It was removed to stop any offense being taken and to end any opportunity by Tiso and Brown to denigrate this blog any more than they usually do.”
Apparently, when people point out that an image posted on your site is a hateful caricature of a historically oppressed minority, the appropriate response is to talk up your own benevolence, accuse one of them of “conning” a tv station into airing a “shit circle jerk TV show”, call him an “aging hipster”, pledge yourself to harshly criticise said show every single week, and compare those who were upset by the image to the IDF.
(Full disclosure, I made a reply to one of the few comments on that post which has not made it through moderation. Hardly a surprise, as at time of writing only four comments have and they’re all indignantly on his side.)
Really, who here is actually running an attack campaign? Maybe it’s not that the left eats its young. Maybe it’s just that the left places higher importance on pointing out when allies perform acts which undermine the values that they supposedly share. After reading Bomber’s response to Russell and Giovanni, I certainly see very little value in his contributions to any system of beliefs, values and priorities that I would want to join. I don’t care if people agree with me on everything. I do care how they respond to criticism. And on that score, Bomber seriously bombed.