Roger L. Simon
You may not know writer Roger Simon by name, but chances are you know some of the things he’s done. He co-wrote movies such as Bustin’ Loose (star: Richard Pryor) and Scenes From a Mall (stars: Woody Allen and Bette Midler). He’s also written many novels, including a series of detective stories about a character named Moses Wine. He adapted one of them, The Big Fix, as a movie, which starred Richard Dreyfuss.
Sometimes people face events that so terrify them, their entire life changes. For Simon, this event was the attacks on the World Trade Centers on 9/11/2001. Although he admittedly remains a social liberal (he favors same gender marriage), many of his attitudes took a politically far right turn. He has focused on this and on his blogging. Recently, he wrote a blog post where he compares filmmaker Oliver Stone to Walter Duranty.
Walter Duranty (1884â€“1957) was a British-born journalist. He worked for the New York Times as their bureau chief in Moscow. In 1932 he won a Pulitzer Prize for a series of articles he wrote about the Soviet Union.
Unfortunately, Duranty had become too chummy with Stalin and the Soviets. He defended the brutality of Stalinism and overlooked its failings. He wrote, “[I]ndividuality and private enterprise were alien concepts to the Russian people which led only to social disruption and were unacceptable to them just as tyranny and Communism were unacceptable to Westerners.” For those unfamiliar with history, this is the same sort of excuse used by supporters of slavery in the U.S. They claimed that the slaves couldn’t take care of themselves.
In my opinion, both are lies. Both are rationalizations for supporting the unsupportable.
So when it comes to his politics, I’m not a fan of Duranty.
I imagine many of you are more familiar with Oliver Stone than Duranty. Films he has made include Platoon, Wall Street, Talk Radio, The Doors, JFK, and many others. In a recent interview for the London Sunday Times he said, “Hitler did far more damage to the Russians than [to] the Jewish people, 25 or 30 [million killed].” He went on to say that the reason we don’t know this is because of “[t]he Jewish domination of the media.” Whew. Well, let’s get our facts straight.
The Toll of Naziism
According to current research, 26.6 million people were killed in the USSR, a horrible toll and about 14% of the population. As a comparison, the U.S.A. suffered a total of 418,500 deaths or 0.32% of the population. The total number of Jews killed by the Nazis was just under 6 million. On a simple numerical basis, Stone is correct. More than four times as many people in the USSR were killed than were Jews. But numbers can be deceptive.
The six million Jews killed in the Holocaust was an astounding 78% of the Jews in Europe. While it’s true that more Soviets (not just Russians) were killed than Jews, the percentage of the people wiped out shows that Hitler and the Nazis did far more damage to the Jewish people than to the Soviets. So the real problem with Oliver’s statement is that he stated it wrong. In fact, he later apologized, admitting that his comments were “clumsy.” I would agree. But he didn’t retract his claim about Jewish domination of the media.
Domination of the Media?
Although hatred in all forms can be terrible, one of the worst forms is that which comes from people who smile as they deny their own hatred. Although many people believe that Jews dominate the mediaâ€”and like Stone, state it as a factâ€”it simply isn’t true. Certainly there are some Jews involved with the media, but there are people of all religions involved in the media. Those who falsely claim “Jewish domination” ignore such people as (from 1996): “Jack Welch and Michael H. Jordan, CEOs, respectively, ofÂ GEÂ (NBC) andÂ WestinghouseÂ (CBS); Rupert Murdoch (who owns 20th Century Fox); John Malone, CEO ofÂ TCI, the nation’s largest cable company; maverick globalist Ted Turner; and many more.” Also tuned are the non-Jewish owners of giants such asÂ Hearst Communications,Â Times Mirror, theÂ Chicago Tribune’s empire, and Reader’s Digest Inc. And don’t forget the Shintoist directorship ofÂ SonyÂ (which ownsColumbia StudiosÂ andÂ Tri-Star Pictures).
Also ignored is the fact that even when a large media corporation has someone Jewish at the top, that corporation is answerable to big shareholders. This lie of “Jewish domination” ignores “Warren Buffett (Disney’s largest investor); cyberlord Bill Gates (who owns a big piece ofÂ DreamworksÂ andÂ MSNBC); [and] Gordon Crawford, who manages the media holdings for the secretiveÂ Capital GroupÂ (which owns a chunk of every major player).”
Why Don’t People Know the Numbers?
So in this statement Oliver was wrong and the belief implies a willingness to accept an anti-Semitic lie. But he was right in saying that people in the U.S. especially don’t know the horrible sacrifice made by the Soviets during WWII. The reason for this, in my opinion, has nothing to do with the media.
I would contend the lack of knowledge about the destruction of the Soviets is far more the result of the post-WWII Cold War paranoia which turned our former war allies, the Soviets, into horrible monsters where all of their actions were either evil or should be ignored. All of the media was rife with anti-Communist propaganda. This was carried over into the U.S. educational system and continues to this day. We simply arenâ€™t taught about what happened to our allies/enemies, the Soviets.
What Does This Have to do with Magick?
Now that we know the characters of this little story, we can get back to Simonâ€™s article. Whew, this is a long way around to get here!
In his blog, Simon writes, â€śDuranty was a youthful devotee of the Satanist Aleister Crowley.â€ťÂ It is true that they knew each other.Â Crowley called Duranty â€śmy old friendâ€ť in Magick Without Tears.
However, Crowley was NOT a Satanist. He did use Satanism as a literary device in some of his poetry. He did use some Satanic imagery in order to be shocking. But he did not worship Satan. That would have been far too mundane and lower class for him. If you look at the Thelmic pantheon, the deities of the religion he founded, there are primarily Egyptian deities, and Satan is nowhere in sight.
Mr. Simon is trying to convert people to his new political beliefs. The first thing a person trying to convert others has to do is know their facts and be honest. His misrepresentation is an attack on me, an attack on followers of Crowley, an attack on millions of occultists around the world, and an attack on truth. How can you win us to your side when you start with lies?
The Moral of This Story
Hatred can be subtle or overt. I donâ€™t think that Stone would call himself anti-Semitic, although he is clearly spreading anti-Semitic myths. I donâ€™t think that Simon realizes that he is spreading lies about Crowley in an attempt to tar Duranty and by contagion, Stone.
Simon is certainly not part of a Jewish dominated media. The expose of Stoneâ€™s interview was done by mainstream media, not Simon. Here, Simonâ€™s politics simply let him add to the attacks on Stone. BUT, adding false information about Crowley does not make Simonâ€™s attack more damning, except to himself.
The moral of this blog? Everyone has opinions, including me. They come out in what people say and write. As readers, it becomes valuable to understand where writers and speakers are coming from in order to accurately interpret their comments.
Facts remain facts. Lies remain lies. Politics and personal opinion filter facts and lies. Readers (consumers of information) need to look through the filters to find the facts. Therefore, I would suggest that people get information from sources on all sides of the political spectrum in order to determine facts and falsehoods. As I like to say:
Think for yourself. Question authority.
What do you think?