Saturday, September 20, 2008

Journalists — ischapcha

In Talmud, it says that if one has an inclination to be a murderer, he should become a butcher.

In our times, the one who has an inclination to lie should become a journalist. [info]arbat (in Russian) shows a few examples of both Russian and US media lying through its teeth (more examples of how liberal media has been twisting facts for years to fit its agenda — I will translate more of this later). Nowadays, it seems, reportáge became synonymous with creative writing.

This reminds me of Byzantine History class² in my undergaduate school, in which we used so-called “blue books” for exams. They were regular composition books used in Universities; on their front page was written, “Use your imagination”. We used to joke about how your imagination is the last thing you want to use on a history exam. On the other hand, using imagination is what I seemed to do most on Organic Chemistry exams. I was too lazy to study boring combinations of reactions and stupidly memorize them, so in the end, I just “filled in” missing details. This seems to be what half of journalist lying is all about — just laziness to check one’s facts and get acquainted with the topic. The other half is about purposely twisting the truth to make it fit one’s agenda.
Ischapcha: in the teachings of Chabad Chassidus, an act of transforming something from negative to positive without breaking its form, as opposed to iskafiya, which involves subjugation of something and nullification of it to a higher will. Forcing a slave to work or breaking a knife so it wouldn’t be used for murder is iskafiya. Transforming the slave into a hired hand who works through his own will or using the knife to cut bread instead of killing is ischapcha. Of course, in my example, the nature of a journalist is not transformed.

² Taught by one of the best history professors.

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