Skip navigation

Steven Salaita: “Many genocides have been glorified without a single inappropriate speech act”.

The fascist censorious judiciary in the Netherlands who keep issuing one censorious verdict after another, they know that appropriate language is no indication of a polite or civilized or even law-abiding society but that such language rather serves to cover up and hide crimes against humanity. Fascism hides behind civility, and indeed, “a word becomes more relevant than an array of war crimes.”, in a society that sacrifices free speech on the altar of civility like The Netherlands does. The whole judiciary profits from the fascist SLAPP-suit and libel-tourism industries, and freedom of speech is a cheap price to pay when there is money to be made from censorship.

Must-read essay, go and read the entire thing –>

My tweets might appear uncivil, but such a judgment can’t be made in an ideological or rhetorical vacuum. Insofar as “civil” is profoundly racialized and has a long history of demanding conformity, I frequently choose incivility as a form of communication. This choice is both moral and rhetorical.

The piety and sanctimony of my critics is most evident in their hand-wringing about my use of curse words. While I am proud to share something in common with Richard Pryor, J.D. Salinger, George Carlin, S.E. Hinton, Maya Angelou, Judy Blume, and countless others who have offended the priggish, I confess to being confused as to why obscenity is such an issue to those who supposedly devote their lives to analyzing the endless nuances of public expression. Academics are usually eager to contest censorship and deconstruct vague charges of vulgarity. When it comes to defending Israel, though, anything goes. If there’s no serious moral or political argument in response to criticism of Israel, then condemn the speaker for various failures of “tone” and “appropriateness.” Emphasis placed on the speaker and not on Israel. A word becomes more relevant than an array of war crimes.

Even by the tendentious standards of “civility,” my comments on Twitter (and elsewhere) are more defensible than the accusations used to defame me. The most deplorable acts of violence germinate in high society. Many genocides have been glorified (or planned) around dinner tables adorned with forks and knives made from actual silver, without a single inappropriate speech act having occurred.

Excerpted from the book _Uncivil Rites: Palestine and the Limits of Academic Freedom_ by Steven Salaita

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: