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Here's the difference between the BBC and the New York Times
Posted by: Steve G.
Date: April 05, 2019 07:40PM
BBC:
"Sydney Brenner, one of the giants of 20th Century science, has died.

The South African of Lithuanian descent made many pioneering discoveries in the field of molecular and developmental biology, winning a Nobel Prize in 2002."

New York Times:
"Sydney Brenner was born to Jewish immigrants in Germiston, a small town near Johannesburg, on Jan. 13, 1927. His father, Morris, a cobbler who could not read or write, had fled Lithuania to escape conscription in the czar’s army. His mother, Leah (Blecher) Brenner, was an émigré from Latvia."


----
ps: forced conscription of Jews into the Czar's army was for a lifetime with no end date. At least the Czar seemed to think it was important the family was Jews...unlike the BBC. This is the BBC's usual practice. Jewish refugees from deadly societies become 'former Germans'.
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Re: Here's the difference between the BBC and the New York Times
Posted by: mattkime
Date: April 05, 2019 07:42PM
Perhaps I'm missing the point - is one more correct than the other?



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Re: Here's the difference between the BBC and the New York Times
Posted by: Lemon Drop
Date: April 05, 2019 07:45PM
I agree Steve, the BBC's description of Brenner's childhood circumstances and that of his parents is oddly missing. They are significant.
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Re: Here's the difference between the BBC and the New York Times
Posted by: Steve G.
Date: April 05, 2019 08:03PM
Quote
mattkime
Perhaps I'm missing the point - is one more correct than the other?

Yes, you missed it. The reason his parents were in South Africa was because they were persecuted as Jews. They escaped the Czar's crushing anti-semitism. The last they would want to be described as would be "of Lithuanian descent". The proud "Lithuanians" later helped the Germans murder 250,000 Jews, who thought Jews were sub-human and not "Lithuanian".
The BBC chooses to blithely gloss this over and make it appear the Lithuanians were one jolly family.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/05/2019 08:26PM by Steve G..
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Re: Here's the difference between the BBC and the New York Times
Posted by: sekker
Date: April 05, 2019 09:46PM
R I P, Dr Brenner. He would have been sad if all his positive impact from his rich life would be overshadowed by politics of any sort.
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Re: Here's the difference between the BBC and the New York Times
Posted by: Steve G.
Date: April 05, 2019 10:25PM
He would be sad to not be remembered as a member of his people.
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Re: Here's the difference between the BBC and the New York Times
Posted by: mattkime
Date: April 05, 2019 11:33PM
Quote
Steve G.
He would be sad to not be remembered as a member of his people.

How do you know? Perhaps this portion of his history is more important to you than it is to him.



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Re: Here's the difference between the BBC and the New York Times
Posted by: voodoopenguin
Date: April 06, 2019 02:59AM
I understand that this is very important to you however the BBC obit dealt with his life and his life started in South Africa where he was born. His Wiki page does say "His parents, Leah[23] (née Blecher) and Morris Brenner, were Jewish immigrants." but does not say why they left Lithuania because that was not his history but his parents.

When I die I would like my obit to talk about me not about things that happened before I was born.

Paul



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Re: Here's the difference between the BBC and the New York Times
Posted by: Janit
Date: April 06, 2019 05:26AM
People do not spring, full-grown, from the head of Zeus.

They are born into historical circumstances, and those circumstances, for better or worse, are part of what shapes them. At the time of Brenner’s birth, South Africa had a substantial community of Jewish refugees who had fled from Lithuania. Neither the country they left, nor the community they formed, would have considered these refugees “Lithuanian.”



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/06/2019 07:49PM by Janit.
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Re: Here's the difference between the BBC and the New York Times
Posted by: Lemon Drop
Date: April 06, 2019 06:22AM
[www.theguardian.com]

Much better obit. What a fascinating life, all facets of it.
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Re: Here's the difference between the BBC and the New York Times
Posted by: voodoopenguin
Date: April 06, 2019 06:40AM
Quote
Lemon Drop
[www.theguardian.com]

Much better obit. What a fascinating life, all facets of it.

Excellent but it still won't be liked because it doesn't mention his parents fleeing Lithuania to avoid conscription before he was born.

Paul



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Re: Here's the difference between the BBC and the New York Times
Posted by: Steve G.
Date: April 06, 2019 10:07AM
Quote
Janit
Neither the country they left, nor the community they formed, would have considered these refugees “Lithuanian.”

Yes, the BBC 's description is a gloss disregarding actual European history.
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Re: Here's the difference between the BBC and the New York Times
Posted by: voodoopenguin
Date: April 06, 2019 10:28AM
How much history previous to the life of the person concerned has to be included in an obituary? How far back should we go? If there is a slave history to a black person who has died does that have to be included?

Sydney Brenner was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun by Japan, a country that fought on the side of the Germans in WWII during his lifetime. Does that need to be mentioned?

In my opinion and I know it is only my opinion then if he was persecuted or had any problems during his life that were down to his Jewishness then absolutely that should be in his obituary because it was his life. Bringing in facts, which I do not deny, of things that happened seventeen years before he was born I feel is padding unless it can be shown that it is relevant to the obituary. The first part of the NYT quote in the original post is relevant but the last part was not shown to be relevant.

Paul



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Re: Here's the difference between the BBC and the New York Times
Posted by: max
Date: April 06, 2019 12:10PM
Quote
voodoopenguin
Sydney Brenner was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun by Japan, a country that fought on the side of the Germans in WWII during his lifetime. Does that need to be mentioned?
Paul

Japan did not participate in the Holocaust and resisted Nazi pressure in that regard, in fact Jews ended up being somewhat protected, as they did in Shanghai....

[forward.com]

[www.theatlantic.com]




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end.
One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution;
one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship."
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Re: Here's the difference between the BBC and the New York Times
Posted by: voodoopenguin
Date: April 06, 2019 12:34PM
Quote
max
Japan did not participate in the Holocaust and resisted Nazi pressure in that regard, in fact Jews ended up being somewhat protected, as they did in Shanghai..../

Thank you for that information Max, apologies for putting the two nations together in this instance.

Paul



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Re: Here's the difference between the BBC and the New York Times
Posted by: neophyte
Date: April 06, 2019 07:52PM
Quote
Steve G.
He would be sad to not be remembered as a member of his people.

Perhaps not. By his own account, he was an atheist.
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Re: Here's the difference between the BBC and the New York Times
Posted by: Janit
Date: April 06, 2019 08:21PM
Every statement in an obituary like this carries both meaning and subtext. Every statement reflects a choice regarding what picture to paint, what trajectory to portray, what influences to credit.

Where the NYTimes obit suggests a bootstrap story of a boy from a poor Jewish refugee community who makes good, the BBC story leans more toward an ethnic son of whom Lithuania can be proud.

Which one of these representations is more true? Why not simply say that he was born in South Africa, leaving out any Jewish or Lithuanian coloration at all?

Both of these manipulations involve narrative uses of emotion designed to bring the reader into the story by virtue of its story-ness. They are the tools by which boring lists of dry accomplishments are crafted into compelling narratives attractive to a general audience. They cast the deceased as a "real" person that the reader can relate to.

The subtext of the story is as powerful as the text. Sometimes it is even more powerful because it can be so hard to pin down.
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Re: Here's the difference between the BBC and the New York Times
Posted by: Janit
Date: April 06, 2019 08:31PM
Quote
neophyte
Quote
Steve G.
He would be sad to not be remembered as a member of his people.

Perhaps not. By his own account, he was an atheist.

You didn't read far enough. In the same interview he also said this:

Quote

I just wrote my biography for the Nobel site, and I think my legacy is the people that have worked with me. It’s a kind of living legacy. It corresponds much to the idea of a Jew. You gain immortality through your children, which is an old Judaic idea, and my legacy will be through the people who have worked for me.

Jews come in many flavors, and many of them are even "atheists." Even for "religious" Jews, Judaism is not about faith, it's about practice.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/06/2019 08:33PM by Janit.
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Re: Here's the difference between the BBC and the New York Times
Posted by: $tevie
Date: April 07, 2019 12:02PM
Well, anybody who thinks that all their news should come from one source is going to miss information. The BBC does a great job of keeping the entire world informed and I'm sorry that Steve G thinks they are raging anti-Semites but it won't make me stop listening to them because otherwise I would have no idea what is happening in the entire continent of Africa, among other things.



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Re: Here's the difference between the BBC and the New York Times
Posted by: Steve G.
Date: April 07, 2019 01:35PM
They are not raging. But their editorial choices are consistent over the years. The BBC correspondent weeping while reporting seeing off Yassir Arafat is a landmark of their Palestinian coverage.
The BBC governors have upheld part of a complaint against a journalist who said she "started to cry" as a dying Yasser Arafat left the West Bank in 2004 [news.bbc.co.uk]

The BBC coverage of the Gaza War in 2014 also managed to mostly leave out 10,000 Hamas rockets fired from urban neighborhoods used as human shield. That the rockets were launched against Israeli towns and cities was similarly absent in most reports.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 04/07/2019 02:02PM by Steve G..
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Re: Here's the difference between the BBC and the New York Times
Posted by: Steve G.
Date: April 07, 2019 02:55PM
The BBC is not the only one shoveling out the bias. For instance here is a Reuters article from today [www.reuters.com] about the Pyongyang Marathon, playing up the 'filled stadium', 1000 foreign runners and not at all mentioning that North Korea is a horrific brutal torture-filled surveillance state with hundred of thousands starving and in prison camps.


Reuters uses propaganda shots from NK TV as proof of happiness



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/07/2019 02:59PM by Steve G..
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Re: Here's the difference between the BBC and the New York Times
Posted by: bfd
Date: April 07, 2019 07:52PM
Well, anyone who knew the guy would also know that he was as important as Watson and Crick were in the discoveries surrounding DNA and RNA … he provided the base for many of San Diego's multi-million dollar biotech industries. Didn't want this to get lost in the shuffle…
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Re: Here's the difference between the BBC and the New York Times
Posted by: rjmacs
Date: April 09, 2019 06:55AM
Quote
Janit
Jews come in many flavors, and many of them are even "atheists." Even for "religious" Jews, Judaism is not about faith, it's about practice.

This!

It's such a cultural error that many Americans make, but if you've ever spent time in a Jewish community (or known many religious Jews), it becomes clear how different many embodiments of Judaism are from typical Christian denominations. Thanks for the reminder, Janit.



rj
AKA
Vreemac, Moth of the Future
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Re: Here's the difference between the BBC and the New York Times
Posted by: $tevie
Date: April 09, 2019 01:37PM
Quote
rjmacs
Quote
Janit
Jews come in many flavors, and many of them are even "atheists." Even for "religious" Jews, Judaism is not about faith, it's about practice.

This!

It's such a cultural error that many Americans make, but if you've ever spent time in a Jewish community (or known many religious Jews), it becomes clear how different many embodiments of Judaism are from typical Christian denominations. Thanks for the reminder, Janit.
I'm not clear about what you are saying. Are you saying that Quakers are just like Catholics are just like Unitarians are just like Southern Baptists?



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Re: Here's the difference between the BBC and the New York Times
Posted by: rjmacs
Date: April 10, 2019 07:56AM
Quote
$tevie
Quote
rjmacs
Quote
Janit
Jews come in many flavors, and many of them are even "atheists." Even for "religious" Jews, Judaism is not about faith, it's about practice.

This!

It's such a cultural error that many Americans make, but if you've ever spent time in a Jewish community (or known many religious Jews), it becomes clear how different many embodiments of Judaism are from typical Christian denominations. Thanks for the reminder, Janit.
I'm not clear about what you are saying. Are you saying that Quakers are just like Catholics are just like Unitarians are just like Southern Baptists?

Quakers and Unitarians are hardly typical Christian denominations, but I apologize if I was insufficiently clear.



rj
AKA
Vreemac, Moth of the Future
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Re: Here's the difference between the BBC and the New York Times
Posted by: Janit
Date: April 10, 2019 11:40AM
Quote
rjmacs
Quote
$tevie
Quote
rjmacs
Quote
Janit
Jews come in many flavors, and many of them are even "atheists." Even for "religious" Jews, Judaism is not about faith, it's about practice.

This!

It's such a cultural error that many Americans make, but if you've ever spent time in a Jewish community (or known many religious Jews), it becomes clear how different many embodiments of Judaism are from typical Christian denominations. Thanks for the reminder, Janit.
I'm not clear about what you are saying. Are you saying that Quakers are just like Catholics are just like Unitarians are just like Southern Baptists?

Quakers and Unitarians are hardly typical Christian denominations, but I apologize if I was insufficiently clear.

Not to mention that there are also those who believe that Catholics are not Christians either.
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Re: Here's the difference between the BBC and the New York Times
Posted by: $tevie
Date: April 11, 2019 03:08PM
Still don't get the point of the comment at all. I guess it doesn't matter, anyhow.



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