The erosion of free speech in Britain: blogger and YouTuber convicted of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denialism

An anti-Semitic British woman has just been convicted, and may well be jailed, for posting “grossly offensive” songs on YouTube. This is just another step in the continuing erosion of free speech in Britain. In effect, what she was convicted for was anti-Semitic statements (not illegal in the U.S.), which include denying the Holocaust. She also claimed, in her songs, that Auschwitz was a “theme park.”

As both the BBC and the Guardian report, Alison Chabloz of Derbyshire wrote and performed several anti-Semitic songs in public and posted them as well on her Youtube channel (the site is here, but the offending material seems to have been removed).

From the Guardian:

Alison Chabloz, 54, was convicted of three charges relating to three of her songs at Westminster magistrates court on Friday. The district judge, John Zani, said he was satisfied the material was grossly offensive and that Chabloz intended to insult Jewish people.

The prosecutor Karen Robinson previously told the court: “Miss Chabloz’s songs are a million miles away from an attempt to provide an academic critique of the Holocaust. 

The songs Chabloz were charged over included one titled (((survivors))) – using the white supremacist online convention of placing Jewish names within three brackets. The prosecution was initially brought privately by the charity Campaign Against Antisemitism, then taken over by the CPS.

. . . About 20 supporters of the musician groaned when the verdict was given, with shouts of “shame” from the public gallery.

Chabloz had uploaded the songs to YouTube, as well as performing them at a London Forum event in 2016. They included one song describing the Nazi death camp Auschwitz as “a theme park” and the gas chambers a “proven hoax”. The songs were in part set to traditional Jewish folk music.

Adrian Davies, defending, previously told Zani his ruling would be a landmark one, setting a precedent on the exercise of free speech. He had argued his client did not commit an offence, saying: “It is hard to know what right has been infringed by Miss Chabloz’s singing.”

From the BBC:

Chabloz, who describes herself as a Holocaust revisionist, said her music was “satire” and had previously told the court there was “no proof” gas chambers were used to kill Jewish people in World War Two.

However, prosecutors said three of Chabloz’s songs, including one which referred to the notorious Nazi death camp Auschwitz as a “theme park”, were criminally offensive.

Another song included a section set to the tune of a popular Jewish song Hava Nagila.

Indeed, what right was infringed by Chabloz’s songs? Is “insulting Jewish people” a crime? Not in my book. It’s reprehensible, and brands you as a slimeball, but it’s not a crime.

Don’t get me wrong: although Chabloz claims her songs were satirical and that some Jews found them “funny” (I doubt that!), there’s little doubt she’s a Jew-hater. Is that illegal? And is it illegal to deny the Holocaust, even if it’s not an “academic critique”? Remember, Jew-hating elides into Muslim-hating, which elides into criticism of Islam, which elides into all kinds of “offensive” speech whose prohibition, as John Stuart Mill so eloquently argued, is inimical to the public good. That includes, these days, questioning affirmative action, the tactics of Black Lives Matter, and whether unequal representation of the sexes in jobs is prima facie evidence of sexism.

Even denying the Holocaust, however “academic” your arguments may be, is useful: it not only outs a person’s views, but gives us an opportunity to study the issue and rebut the claims. As I’ve said before, it was Holocaust denialism that got me to read the rebuttals of these cranks by historians, and that in turn has not only educated me, but also made me a better critic of this form of bigotry. Without the knowledge gained in an attempt at refutation, all you can do is sputter and call the other side names.

Here’s one of Chabloz’s milder songs; you’ll have to go to YouTube to hear it and also click on a box saying that you accept that it’s identified as “inappropriate and offensive” but you want to watch it anyway. At 24 seconds in, she makes the “quenelle“, an anti-Semitic gesture—a stylized Nazi salute—popularized by the bigoted French entertainer Dieudonné M’bala M’bala. The song, based on a famous (and innocuous) Edith Piaf recording, attacks Zionists and expresses Chabloz’s lack of regret for her attacks on Jews.  This, apparently, is a milder version of the songs for which she was convicted.

But she’s right: a song’s not a crime, even a bigoted one.

The increasing suppression of speech in the UK (and Canada) disturbs me. Will it snuff out bigotry? No, it will just drive it underground and allow bigots to play the censorship card, even gaining adherents. Is the UK better off than the U.S. because of such prosecutions? I don’t see how.

So let the bigots speak. Bring on the anti-Semites. Let them call me a Jew, a sheenie, a Hebe, a Christ-killer, a big nosed, money-grubbing kike! Let them say that the Jews should have been exterminated. I will fight them (verbally), but I’ll also feel sorry for them, for they’ve outed themselves as reprehensible, shameless haters. And they’ll get no traction in today’s society for, as Steve Pinker argues, our morality has progressed. Britain is going down a very dangerous road with prosecutions like this.

Chabloz was supposed to be sentenced last Friday, but I can find no record of what happened.

82 Comments

  1. Posted May 28, 2018 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    I’m a little concerned about that quote from the Guardian that “About 20 supporters of the musician groaned when the verdict was given, with shouts of “shame” from the public gallery.”

    They may have been supporters of free speech rather than supporters of the musician.

  2. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted May 28, 2018 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Of course it is criminal, why even ask? In most of Europe, including UK, hate speech is criminalized. “In the United Kingdom, several statutes criminalize hate speech against several categories of people.” [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hate_speech#Hate_speech_laws_by_country ]
    From the same link, “The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) states that “any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.” The map of nations under the covenant includes US, so presumably it has similar laws or should have.
    Also, ” While Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights does not prohibit criminal laws against revisionism such as denial or minimization of genocides or crimes against humanity, as interpreted by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe went further and recommended in 1997 that member governments “take appropriate steps to combat hate speech” under its Recommendation R (97) 20.[21] The ECtHR does not offer an accepted definition for “hate speech” but instead offers only parameters by which prosecutors can decide if the “hate speech” is entitled to the protection of freedom of speech.[22]”

    So, as I have noted before, this is an accepted balance between the rights of free speech and the suppression of “discrimination, hostility or violence”. Whether or not it ” it will just drive it underground and allow bigots to play the censorship card” or it makes societies less vioelnt we do not know I think, since as must reiterate we lack statistics. It is either helpful, ineffective or harmful. US is not exactly a shining example against though.

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted May 28, 2018 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      When I checked the Convenant that US has signed and ratified, it is a “fake ratifier”:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Covenant_on_Civil_and_Political_Rights#United_States

      Apparently UN is examining US for it.

      • Davide Spinello
        Posted May 28, 2018 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

        In Europe is working very well indeed, no rise of populism and everybody Lennonianly happy while the US sinks in violence due to the evil First amendement and the condoning of hate speech.

        Thanks God for hate speech, it is so nice to have the government taking charge of blasphemy laws.

      • Davide Spinello
        Posted May 28, 2018 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

        The same document that you cite also states as fundamental rights individual liberty, in the form of the freedoms of movement, thought, conscience and religion, speech, association and assembly, family rights, the right to a nationality, and the right to privacy (Articles 12, 13, 17 – 24);It seems to be internally inconsistent, as well as incompatible with hate speech and blasphemy laws (same things.)

        • Davide Spinello
          Posted May 28, 2018 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

          The same document that you cite also states as fundamental rights

          […] individual liberty, in the form of the freedoms of movement, thought, conscience and religion, speech, association and assembly, family rights, the right to a nationality, and the right to privacy (Articles 12, 13, 17 – 24);

          It seems to be internally inconsistent, as well as incompatible with hate speech and blasphemy laws (same things.)

        • Posted June 1, 2018 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

          My impression is the EU documents are too often internally inconsistent, mutually incompatible, and generally unworkable.

      • Posted May 28, 2018 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

        “The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) states that “any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.” The map of nations under the covenant includes US, so presumably it has similar laws or should have.

        We have the First Amendment and the ruling in Brandenburg v. Ohio. And we are very fortunate indeed for those.

        Apparently UN is examining US for it.

        The UN can go do something auto-erotic in nature.

    • Martin X
      Posted May 28, 2018 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

      “US is not exactly a shining example against though.”

      Hah, yes. The jury is still out on whose approach is better.

      It seems to be a classic liberal stance that radical free speech leads to the best of all possible worlds, but I’m not sure we have enough data points to be sure of that.

      It may be that radical free speech is, in engineering terms, unstable, and stability only happens when there are boundaries. Let’s hope the angels, rather than the demons, set up the boundaries.

  3. mikeyc
    Posted May 28, 2018 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    There is going to be backlash against this kind of oppression. It will be ugly and appalling. It amazes me that people still believe -after innumerable examples to the contrary- that suppressing thought doesn’t kill it. Often it feeds on it.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted May 28, 2018 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      Exactly. In this example conspiracy theorists will convince a surprising number of people that Jews have control of the British legal system. They will say this woman is being silenced because she speaks the truth.

      If she was allowed to spew her drivel, she would soon be exposed for the hateful, ignorant person she is.

      She might even learn that she’s wrong.

      Being punished for a pov tends to make people cling to that view even stronger.

    • Posted May 28, 2018 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      I think you’re right. I think that’s why the U.S. is currently experiencing so many verbalizations and actions (guns, etc.) of hatred. It was repressed prior to Trump, but the people who voted Trump in now feel empowered to express their true, long tamped down, beliefs. Much better to have had these feelings voiced, and countered, previously. All that can be thought (except “Fire!)should be able to be expressed without legal action other than by the court of public opinion.

  4. Eric Grobler
    Posted May 28, 2018 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    “Tommy Robinson as well, who’s just been imprisoned, but because there’s a ban on reporting the facts”

    I find the media ban on discussing the case shocking – a bit stalinist actually.

    Is this a very unusual ruling in the UK?

    • mikeyc
      Posted May 28, 2018 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      Very astute. I am currently reading Julian Barnes’ “The Noise of Time”. Shostakovich would recognize these tactics.

      • Eric Grobler
        Posted May 28, 2018 at 11:09 am | Permalink

        “The Noise of Time”
        I love his music but I do not know much about his relationship with the Party except that he joined the communist party quite late in his career?

        I see mixed reviews on Amazon — how would you rate the book?

        • mikeyc
          Posted May 28, 2018 at 11:28 am | Permalink

          Not Barnes’ best TBS – it is just so relentlessly depressing. But, as is all of Barnes’ work, very readable and his ability to capture narrative subtleties right along side broadsides is done up very well. Though a novel, I like how accurate it is to real time, events and people.

          • Eric Grobler
            Posted May 28, 2018 at 11:55 am | Permalink

            Thanks I might just Kindle it on my next trip.

    • Eric Grobler
      Posted May 28, 2018 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      Gad Saad just weighed in on the Robinson case

    • Posted May 28, 2018 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      The Tommy Robinson issue is because there is an ongoing trial. Robinson was being “activist” outside the trial in a way that could influence jurors and so jeopardize a fair trial. The media ban is for the same reason, and only lasts as long as the trial.

      It is fairly normal to have media restrictions up until the jury’s verdict.

      • Eric Grobler
        Posted May 28, 2018 at 11:19 am | Permalink

        Fair point, but is the media not also banned from reporting on the arrest of Robinson itself?

        • Posted May 28, 2018 at 11:44 am | Permalink

          No, it isn’t. There’s no ban. Does Google not work where you are?

          • Eric Grobler
            Posted May 28, 2018 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

            “Does Google not work where you are?”
            I do not appreciate your condescending tone.

            Here is an excerpt from the ever objective foxnews (Sunday):

            “The gag order led to news outlets in the U.K. removing their reporting from their websites to comply with the order. Most remaining reporting in the U.K. comments on Robinson’s arrest, but not on his purported sentencing.”

            When I scanned the web on Saturday regarding the case, many media outlets were under the impression that the ban was applicable to Robinson’s sentence as well.

            http://www.foxnews.com/world/2018/05/26/right-wing-activist-tommy-robinson-reportedly-jailed-after-filming-outside-child-grooming-trial.html

          • Posted May 29, 2018 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

            Actually, there was a ban.

            http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-44287640

            The facts are:

            There was a trial with reporting restrictions on. This is unusual but does happen if it is believed reporting could influence the outcome of the trial.

            Tommy Robinson was at the court where the trial was taking place reporting on it and uploading content to Youtube.

            He was arrested and charged with contempt of court.

            His hearing on contempt charges had a reporting ban on it, presumably because of concerns that details of the original trial would leak.

            The media have successfully challenged the ban on reporting Tommy Robinson’s hearing which is why the BBC are now reporting it.

      • Eric Grobler
        Posted May 28, 2018 at 11:25 am | Permalink

        Interesting perspective from a former member of the European Parliament

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMDOKwozTPY

      • Posted May 28, 2018 at 11:55 am | Permalink

        There are reporting restrictions on the trial itself. There are always reporting restrictions on trials involving the sexual abuse of minors.

        We don’t allow filming or photography inside the courses themselves. Court proceedings in the U.K. aren’t part of the entertainment industry the way they are in the U.S.

        News coverage is largely restricted to sketches. Victims names are usually withheld and so are those of the accused if there are other trials against them pending.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted May 28, 2018 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

          In the US, cameras and broadcasting equipment are banned from our federal courts. (This is why you see artists’ sketches of high-profile federal cases.) The US Supreme Court allows oral arguments to be recorded, but only for later broadcast.

          Many, but not all, of the states allow cameras inside their courtrooms. In rare instances, judges will impose gag orders restricting what parties and their lawyers can say outside the courtroom. But the US Sixth Amendment guarantees “public trial[s]” — meaning that anything occurring inside the courtroom can be reported by the media.

    • Posted May 28, 2018 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      I’ve cut out the stuff on Tommy Robinson because I realized I just don’t know enough about either him or British law to even begin discussing it.

      I do think that it’s bizarre to have laws preventing reporting on what happens in the courtroom.

      • Eric Grobler
        Posted May 28, 2018 at 11:33 am | Permalink

        A ban on reporting on the ongoing “grooming gang “trail is one thing, a ban on discussing the sentencing of Robinson is another.

      • Posted May 28, 2018 at 11:40 am | Permalink

        Jerry, there’s no ban on reporting Tommy Robinson’s arrest. Just google it: you’ll find dozens of articles on it in the British press. The ‘ban’ is entirely fictional.

        • Eric Grobler
          Posted May 28, 2018 at 11:52 am | Permalink

          I think you are correct, however when I looked at UK media Saturday evening I only found a report in the Independent.

          There seems to have been a general confusion on the exact ruling of the Judge, or perhaps deliberate disinformation.

          • Posted May 28, 2018 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

            I found coverage of the arrest the instant the far right started Tweeting their conspiracy theories and I thought I’d check for myself.

            It’s really dispiriting that four days after the arrest, after which coverage began immediately, people are still insisting there’s a ban. No amount of links to news sites covering the arrest will persuade them otherwise.

            • Heather Hastie
              Posted May 28, 2018 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

              It suits the far right to paint themselves as victims. Tommy Robinson constantly portrays himself that way. Quite frankly, it makes me more suspicious of him than I would otherwise be.

          • Posted May 29, 2018 at 6:37 am | Permalink

            I think part of the problem is that almost nobody in the UK gives a toss about Tommy Robinson and whether he is in prison or not. The British media are under no obligation to report on anything.

            • Posted June 1, 2018 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

              I find this disturbing, even if Robinson is not a very nice person. I have read that Maajid Nawaz entreated for him when he (Robinson) served jail time before.

              • Posted June 3, 2018 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

                On this occasion his prison sentence is fair. There was a court order banning the reporting of a certain trial and he broke it. That put him in contempt of court which is always treated as a serious offence.

    • Posted May 28, 2018 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      Tommy Robinson has been arrested for breaching the terms of his suspended sentence and there’s no ban on reporting it.

      Why do people insist there’s a ‘ban’ when they can simply google coverage of the arrest in The Independent, The Sun, The Mirror, The Metro, etc?

      • Eric Grobler
        Posted May 28, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

        Some publications did delete their articles.
        Seems that there were (are) general confusion about the ruling.

        • Posted May 28, 2018 at 11:48 am | Permalink

          There’s dozens of articles on the arrest. There no ban. There never was.

          Robinson broke the terms of his suspended sentence – terms that he accepted a suspended sentence. A suspended sentence means you have already been sentenced but that the sentence is suspended so long as you stay within the terms of the suspension you have agreed to.

          It’s not rocket surgery.

          • Posted May 28, 2018 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

            You keep saying this over and over again. No need to any more; point taken.

      • Christopher
        Posted May 28, 2018 at 11:59 am | Permalink

        I know nothing of this case, but I do know that English law does have something known as a super-injunction which can prevent the media from reporting on something that is currently in the courts (in recent memory there was one about some famous person and some kinky sex stuff, which was reported but not reported and made its way onto all the comedy panel shows. Everyone knew about it but had to do the old wink-wink nudge-nudge about it) and there’s a related but different anonymized privacy injunction, though I have little interest in or patience with legal stuff so I don’t know if this is what people think had happened in the aforementioned Robinson case.

        • Posted May 28, 2018 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

          If there was a super injunction you wouldn’t even be able to say there was a ban. The fact the supposed ban has been widely ‘reported’ would refute the existence of any super injunction.

        • Posted May 28, 2018 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

          That’s a real problem. “Not only must Justice be done; it must also be seen to be done.”

  5. Randall Schenck
    Posted May 28, 2018 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    How else do you uncover ignorance if you don’t allow it to speak. In America we get to hear lots of ignorance so we know where it it.

    • mikeyc
      Posted May 28, 2018 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      EGGS-actly

    • Eric Grobler
      Posted May 28, 2018 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      “How else do you uncover ignorance if you don’t allow it to speak. ”

      That is why I say nothin’

    • Posted May 28, 2018 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      Also creates martyrs, which is not often a good idea.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted May 28, 2018 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

        Imo, apart from the basic Principle of Freedom of Speech and exposing ignorance etc, that’s the most important reason not to ban speech. Another in my Main Reasons is so as not to drive ideas underground and thus unexposed to the Light of Reason.

  6. Historian
    Posted May 28, 2018 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    I think that the specter of fascism and World War II still holds sway in the minds of the leaders of many European governments. They remember how fascism in the aftermath of World War I and the Great Depression won the support of much of the masses. Of course, the Jews were the prime scapegoat. Now right wing populism is rising in Europe, fueled by Muslim immigration, aided by the good old standby of anti-Semitism. To prevent a rerun of the 1930s, these governments suppress free speech as a means of preventing the masses from being infected by far right wing hate. Although such laws have been in effect for quite some time, I expect them to be enforced with greater frequency due to the turmoil in much of Europe. In the United States, the First Amendment is premised on the belief that truth will win out over lies. Trump is putting that belief to the test in a way most of us could not have imagined two years ago. I think truth will ultimately win out and the First Amendment will be vindicated. However, I would not bet the farm on this. In a few years we’ll know the outcome of this story.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted May 28, 2018 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      I got a few more years to wait. In the mean time, on this memorial day you can watch old movies such as, The Longest Day and Patton to brush up on your Hollywood history.

    • Posted May 28, 2018 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      The primary source of anti-semitism in Europe are the moslem immigrants.

      When reasonable, moderate voices speaking against reckless levels of immigration are defamed as ‘right-wing’, their tongues are stilled, and all who remain vocal are indeed the right-wingers.

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 28, 2018 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Like to give her 11 months and 29 days in county stir myself for malicious Edith Piaf aforethought.

  8. Dale Pickard
    Posted May 28, 2018 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Jerry said, “they’ve outed themselves as reprehensible, shameless haters. And they’ll get no traction in today’s society”

    I pay attention to a lot of media, including right wing radio, as I want to know what it is that is disagreeable to me and why. I think that “reprehensible, shameless hate” is growing and not diminishing in our society.

    I see these expressions of hate as infections of the body politic that are reified and spread though open expression. Some of these ideas even seek out and spread through conflict with other necessarily benign conflicting ideas regarding civil rights and justice. e.g. Charlottesville
    The open expression of hateful ideas represent thinly veiled calls for real suppression, real discrimination and real violence.
    An unfortunate logical consequence of completely free speech is that it can be used to intentionally disrupt and target fear.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted May 28, 2018 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      Our American model is premised on the idea that, in all but the most dire circumstances in which violent lawlessness is imminent, good speech is the proper antidote to bad speech, since it will out compete bad for the listeners’ acceptance in the marketplace of ideas.

      Now, that notion may ultimately prove unavailing, but if it does, then our experiment here in establishing a representative democracy is doomed.

      And, thus far, it has stood us in good stead, through good times and bad, for two-and-a-quarter centuries.

  9. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted May 28, 2018 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Yikes. A number of the skits and songs by Monty Python could be seen as problematical. Remember the Every Sperm is Sacred musical number with gag bits showing poor Catholics breeding like lemmings?

    • mikeyc
      Posted May 28, 2018 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      “I Like Chinese” made me cringe even back when things like that were acceptable. HOWever, I didn’t cringe at the “Australian Bruces” bit. I think (reaching back) that was because the target of the Bruces song were white folk. I guess I was a regressive in utero. I had no idea, of course, as that was decades before they came on the scene. Luckily I was able to strangle that particular affliction before the rot set in.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted May 28, 2018 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

        ‘I Like Chinese’ made me cringe way back when too, and so it should have. I do have regressive tendencies, and I often have to rethink gut reactions to things. However, there is a lot of stuff the regressives are right about imo. It’s mostly their solutions that are wrong e.g. shutting down speech they don’t agree with.

        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted May 28, 2018 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

          Dear me. I must have missed this Monty Python song, which I find offensive (though they have every right to sing it). Heretofore, I understood the phrase simply as referring to one’s preference in food. However, these days, that’s cultural appropriation, so the phrase is now doubly loaded.

          • Craw
            Posted May 28, 2018 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

            It’s deliberately over the top, a parody. So I think several of the commenters are missing the meta aspect.

            • Mikeyc
              Posted May 28, 2018 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

              No no, Craw, I get it and got it then too. But even in my youth I could see people miss the parody. Satire, irony, even comedy itself is, if not dead, mortally wounded today. Can you imagine such a performance now? Palin, Idle, Cleese, et alia, would be pariahs, probably brought up on charges and everyone (like me) who memorized their skits sent to reeducation camps.

    • Posted May 28, 2018 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      I went a catholic school. We laughed ourselves stupid at Every Sperm is Sacred.

      Any criticism of a community can be weaponised by those outside but it can also be a liberating force within that community.

      I suspect a lot of liberal Muslims think ‘Thank Allah someone said that’ when a non-Muslim says something that offends the official spokesmen of their community.

  10. mikeyc
    Posted May 28, 2018 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    ding-dang it! is it “\i” or “/i”?

    • mikeyc
      Posted May 28, 2018 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      *sigh*. I give up. Can’t HTML, can’t thread properly, typos galore.

      Happy Memorial day to you USAans. L8er sk8ers.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted May 28, 2018 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      It’s the second one to stop italics.

      I don’t know if this will work because trying to describe how to do HTML often results in either confusion for the reader or parts of the operation occurring and no one can see how it was done.

      To start italics, type these three characters together, without spaces or speech marks:

      “”

      To stop italitcs, there are four characters:

      “”

      Bold is the same, except with the letter “b” where the “i” is.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted May 28, 2018 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

        I should have known. It left everything out between the start and stop HTML characters – even the words. I don’t know/can’t think how to get around that.

        • Mark Sturtevant
          Posted May 28, 2018 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

          yep. I tried to “html-‘splain” once, and it did the same thing. I think there is a trick to type them without activating what they do but I don’t know it.

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted May 28, 2018 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

            The only way I can think of is to describe them. But on most days I have to have further described to me which way greater than points, and which way less than points, so I’m not sure if I’m the right person!

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted May 28, 2018 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

              Let’s try – (I’ll add another reply when I see if this works) –
              to start italics: &lt i &gt
              to stop italics: &lt /i &gt
              Thus: italics

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted May 28, 2018 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

                Damn. Didn’t work. 8-(

                You enclose a HTML tag in angle brackets – the ‘less than’ and ‘greater than’ signs used in maths expressions.
                The forward slash / signifies ‘end of special formatting’.

                So (bracket) i (close bracket) starts italics and
                (bracket) /i (close bracket) stops them.

                cr

        • Posted May 29, 2018 at 6:41 am | Permalink

          What about

          
          
  11. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted May 28, 2018 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    A proposed protest sign in front of the court:

    It’s Slime not crime
    awful, not unlawful.
    urinal, not criminal.

    An anti-Semitic site defining this woman asks why Jewish anti-Christian mockery is allowed, citing Sarah Silverman, but fails to note that Sarah’s humor is really targetting anti-Semitism through reductio ab absurdum. The statement in question by Sarah is ““I hope the Jews DID kill Christ! I’d fucking do it again in a second”!”

    • Posted May 28, 2018 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      The Jews didn’t kill Christ. If Jesus lived, and any parts of the New Testament are real, the Jews killed Jesus. He didn’t become known as Christ until his story was disseminated by Paul and others in the Greek world.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted May 28, 2018 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

        Well, technically, I always thought it was the Romans who did it. One thing they did right in my view (fervently agreeing with the divine Sarah there!)

        cr

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted May 28, 2018 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

          I should add that that view was most fervently felt right after I had sat on a hard seat in a cold gloomy church for two hours of boring depressing Sunday School when I should have been making the most of my precious weekend playing outdoors.

          cr

  12. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted May 28, 2018 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    Well said, Dr Coyne.

    As an expat Pom (Englishman), I’m embarrassed by prosecutions like this.

    By the way, “Let them call me a Jew, a sheenie, …” reminded me of Brian:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAA9iPb9svw

    cr

  13. Phil Giordana FCD
    Posted May 29, 2018 at 12:05 am | Permalink

    Auschwitz didn’t feel like a theme park.

    Schindler’s factory, however, was like a trip to Holocaust Disneyland. Fully propped with a tramway wagon including animatronics, and a room made to recreate the Kraków-Płaszów camp.


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