In regards to the Reader’s cover story entitled “Whose Holocaust Is It Anyway?” [August 26], one may have noticed the infantile way in which the two academics take stabs at each others’ personal lives and their academic work. The main topic that these two professors debate on is the Holocaust; one apparently claims that modern-day Jews exploit the Holocaust for money and political gain–especially in regards to Israel–while the other goes on about how the former is an anti-Semite. Does it really matter who states which argument? Not in my opinion, no, for the reason that they both (mis)use the Holocaust or their own Jewish background to validate themselves and their arguments, an elementary logical fallacy. Plus, as far as I understand it, they’re both building their careers on trashing the other.
Or at least they’re building their fame on trashing the other (is this an MTV reality show, because if it’s not . . .). This is a perfect example of why young scholars become discouraged in their field. At times not only does it feel like academia is the most rigid and formulaic of professions but simultaneously the most immature. What’s worse is the masking effect that takes place while students remain in the eye of their institution, as if funny gowns and hoods weren’t ridiculous enough.
After reading this article I am intrigued enough to go read books/articles by these two professors merely for the fact that I enjoy Holocaust studies for its macroimplications (as if it were some small event). However, this article, or this ongoing incident, has done nothing in terms of encouraging me to pursue such a line of work. Instead I’ll take the company of artists any day, thank you.
Aaron James Ottinger