|Subject: Publicity for Irving!|
Posted Sep 29, 2000 by Dan
Well, I have very mixed feelings about this. The guy's obviously a crank - he tries to 'prove' that the Holocaust was nothing like as bad as we are told. Some say that he denies it ever happened at all (though apparently that's not actually the case). Basically, he writes a load of contradictory nonsense - unless you're a nazi-sympathising conspiracy theorist of course.
What happened with the court case is that some professor in America wrote a book denouncing him (Prof Deborah Lipstadt - 'Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory') and he then sued her for libel, or whatever. Maybe he shot himself in the foot by sueing. I mean, who on earth would have heard of the Lipstadt book beforehand?!
On the other hand - maybe she made the mistake by publishing a book which gives some sort of credit to a nutter, by insinuating that he's actually able to persuade people. Who would have heard of Irving before? (Apart from in derogatory passing references in the newspapers.) Now people will go and actually read his web pages and some of those people will be dangerously convinced by his arguements.
I think the thing about fining him such a huge amount - although typical of America - will just give him some sort of sympathy from people. I mean the guy's just some deluded eccentric with about 3 followers worldwide. Who the hell had heard of David Irving, apart from a load of Holocaust historians... who are obviously a little too paranoid for their own good.
They won the legal case - but I think they may have just increased the sales of Irving's books by a fair old percentage.
Adding an article on this subject to H2G2 is similar to writing a biography of the vicar who claimed that one of the Tellytubbies was gay because he walked around carrying a handbag - despite being a handsome and rugged CHAP. Just an obscure fool, but it's always them that get in the papers - and that gives them some sort of credibility!
This is obviously a very sensitive issue. But I think we need to know about people like him, without in any way trying to promote or romanticise his beliefs. Because, let's face it, most people who hear about the holocaust can decide for themselves if it was good or bad. Not publicising the fact that people like Irving exist is one sure way of making sure that a possibility (however slight) exists that this could happen again.
I have a question though: how - in a country where pretty much any speech no matter how dangerous, subversive and downright tasteless it is - be "found guilty" of being a Nazi apologist. Surely this opens the way to other cases to curb the actions of other right (and left) wing extremism? If this does happen, then giving publicity to this man is, in an odd sort of way, a Good Thing.
He wasn't found guilty - he sued her and lost. He hasn't been fined, but simply has to cover the enormous costs (no doubt incur in a large part by the lengths he went to to attempt to justify his case).
On the issue of whether we need these articles, I'm not sure. But to say he won't have publicity without is a little naive I suspect - he was in all the papers, and even, I recently discovered, features in Kurt Vonnegut's anti-war novel Slaughterhouse Five.
That's why I put guilty in inverted commas. He has been "found guilty" by most of the people who know about this. But I still feel that just as we have to educate our children (and everyone else who doesn't know about it) about the Holocaust, we have to inform about people like Irving. I have no doubt in my mind that he will raise the $2 million, and enough to launch an appeal. Who's not to say he won't win. But, at least each time he goes in court we get another chance to receive more information about him and those of his ilk. Which is good.
Right. Yeah. Just wanted to get it clear. Some people think that she sued him, and if she had (for deformation or whatever) I think the issues would be a lot more complex - but as it is it seems really cut and dry, he is everything she said and she backed this up with lots of evidence. I think the reason he was never going to win is that she really *is* a historian, and used evidence etc. The weirdest thing is that you'd think he wouldn't accuse her of libel for saying he was a Hitler sympathiser - he seems to be totally happy with people thinking that.
So no, I don't think he'll win an appeal - but you're right, he's doing a circuit of the mad Americans that will support him, and probably will find the money.
I agree that it is good to expose Irving's work as being fraudulent. If it takes a court case or an h2g2 entry to do it, that's fine by me.
There are groups that would publicize Irving's work in any case, as it validates their own opinions. By raising a red flag of warning to the general populace, we can ensure that more people will think twice before being dragged in by hate groups based on Irving's scientific-sounding garbage. And by associating Lipstadt's work with Irving's, we give questioning people a reliable source to check before committing to unfounded beliefs.
|Subject: Publicity for Irving!|
Posted Sep 29, 2000 by Dr. Funk
This is a reply to this Posting.
Just to chime in here--I think it's vitally important that misguided and bigoted people be allowed to express their viewpoints to the horror of almost everyone and to their own personal detriment. As said above, very few people will believe what Irving says, and the piles and piles of Third Reich paperwork on the subject of the Final Solution should convince anyone who still isn't sure. But people should know that there are indeed folks who believe--and try to convince others--that something like the Holocaust (or the Armenian genocide during World War One, or the atrocities in Cambodia during the 1970s, or Stalin's purge of the... you get the idea) didn't happen. Why? Because it shows all the more that these sorts of things need to reaffirmed and retaught, generation after generation--not so we can all go around hating/feeling guilty about being Germans, Russians, Americans, Japanese... (you get the idea again), but so that we, as citizens of states and of the world, can recognize when a government takes steps to kill off some of the people who rely on it for protection, and do something to stop it.
...and the bombing of Dresden. Which for a very long time was hidden from the American public...
It just goes to show that nobody is perfect. The bombing of Dresden (and all the other places, including the famous Dams) became subject to the "winner's version" of history, and only now in the days of PC are they being shown for what they are.
But, we do have to be careful how we present people like Irving. Anyone who had less than their quota of common sence (especially younger people) could be misled if the information on him is not made available with all the details of how dangerous and wrong his ideas are.
|Subject: Publicity for Irving!|
Posted Oct 3, 2000 by Dr. Funk
This is a reply to this Posting.
On a related note, I just saw the newest Errol Morris documentary, called "Mr. Death." It's about Fred Leuchter, a man who designs execution equipment who is called in to be an expert witness to prove that the Holocaust didn't happen. An extremely affecting and very, very disturbing movie, it is composed mostly of long interviews with Leuchter, Holocaust deniers, and actual historians, and includes a brief comment by our loathsome Irving here. Highly recommended for folks interested in what motivates Holocaust deniers, be it nationalism, stupidity, hate, or plain old amorality.
And, incidentally, the other movies of Morris's that I've seen--"The Thin Blue Line," about a man perhaps wrongfully sentenced to death in Texas, "A Brief History of Time," about Stephen Hawking, and "Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control," about... well, lion taming, robot building, topiary gardens, and naked mole rats, among other things--are all excellent.
Do tell! One of my favourite books.
Oh quite simply he quotes him. Can't remember what exactly he says. Mya look it up if I get a chance...
It's true: takling and writing about someone like Irving gives him the publicity, that is used as a justification for credibility by nazi followers. The chain of arguments is: see, people are talking about him -> his theories are serious enough to be denied by "mainstream-historicians" -> it's a gouvernment conspiracy against him -> so there's a jewish world conspiracy and the holocaust didn't happen.
It sounds really crude, but not talking about Irving & Co doesn't mean that he is unknown. No matter how hard you don't talk about him, people who are inclined to racist and specially to nazi-ideology will always come to know to people like him and spread their ideas. Talking about him in public doesn't really give him credibility (no matter what neonazi-followers believe), it just gives the public the possibility to come to know to such ideas and to reject them. Being famous/notorious, is not equal to being right!
And besides it always has something tragicaly funny to listen to nazis denying the holocaust and one beer later shouting that all foreigners, jews, people of a different opinion or owners of a more expensive car damn right should be treated as they were treated under Hitler's rule. They never realize what they say, but they don't care either.
So I think it's right to write and read such postings. I don't care whatever kind of nazi claims justification by publicity of Irving & Co. Me, I'm just glad to have the possibility come to know these ideas (and related people's names) and to object to them.. whenever it's possible
Vonnegut quotes Irving because he began his career as a respectable historian and his first book was about the Dresden bombing. To what extent he held the views he later became infamous for I don't know. He was always a revisionist. Thats why he had to sue Lipstadt. She was destroying his credibility as a professional historian which was very useful to Irving in gaining a wider audience for his views.
I've said this before and I'll say it again. The best way to expose an idiot is to allow him to speak. In other words, let Irving have as much publicity as he can choke on!
I generally believe in the marketplace of ideas. But I suspect this has more to do with interviewing other knowledgeable scientists for their opinions on Irving's concept rather than listening to Irving ad nauseum.
I never suggested taking Irving's ideas seriously while allowing the idiot to speak. I just figured that oughtright laughter at his ludicrous notions by all of the intelligent people of the world ought to at least shut him up, and at best, drive him to suicide. And then? SCORE 1 FOR THE HUMAN GENE POOL!!!!
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