Saturday, January 5, 2008

Acocella vs. Gibran

In the current New Yorker: Joan Acocella's funny, extremely satisfying piece on The Prophet author Kahlil Gibran. It's a refreshing reminder that some of our most "inspirational" books and movements come from deeply imperfect people.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've just read the Acocella smear on Gibran and thought I'd look and see if anyone was as suspicious of her bias as was I. Then I read what you've written and it all became quite clear. You individuals of the Jewish faith wouldn't be too happy with my writing the truth about some of your hallowed Jewish icons. Oh no, 'anti-semite' would get trotted out as it always does if there is even the mildest criticism. But to smear the reputation, work, intentions of one such as Gibran is no problem at all. Acocella insinuates and denigrates in a way I doubt she would do if Gibran were Jewish. It wouldn't be allowed. We would be brought to a state of sympathy for an artist
whose life was that of a cultural outsider deeply marked by personal tragedy. No, no sympathy. Not for Gibran. Acocella states that Gibran didn't adequately mourn the three dead members of his family but she never gives an example of what that means, so all I hear is the same old smear on Arabs. They are called animals behind their backs. I've heard it. Watched the derisive, diminishing way Jewish folks speak of them and instead,
I'm beginning to look at the motivations. It was so ugly that my whole family read the Israel Lobby. Our opinions are shifting I'm sad to say.
A case in point is this biased and atrociously nasty-spirited essay on Gibrans life. It is poor journalism, but it springs from a rich and very un-American tradition of Anti-Arabism fueled by a PR war that is being waged through movies, TV, print media which is so relentless, Nazi-like, vicious and insidious that we Americans are beginning to wake up and ask "why?"