An Open Note About Andy @xtcfans
First off, for 30+ years, I’ve absolutely adored writer Andy Partridge. It’s hard to put into cogent words how profoundly his work has impacted (and improved) my own, and burrowed into my heart and life. 1/
Through mutual friends I was able to tell him this a few times over the years, which I considered an honor. I had feasted at his beautifully laid out table; being able to honestly say thank you was a joy.
So the disaster of past two days has been tough, and my role painful. 2/
It all started from a post regarding the Bolton/Trump saber rattling over Iran — reckless and grotesque, calculatedly advanced by an amoral administration. I agree.
Within the post, however, was a crude, broad blame placed entirely on Israel as the root cause, 3/
the puppetmaster of America. Red flag. A response in agreement furthered this by saying “There is some kind of big plan here.
The goal? Probably one world banking and government system run by "the only democracy in the Middle East"
Andy’s response was “Wink”.
Confronting this in someone whose output has had such a deep, life- and love-affirming impact on me was a genuine quandary, and for a few minutes I wavered. Then I reread it, and realized I wouldn’t be able to look in the mirror if I didn’t say something.
So, that was it. 5/
I responded, writing that this was lazy and inexcusable, and always ends badly. We bantered back and forth, and largely seemed to agree more than disagree. I wanted to appeal to him, not alienate. And for a while it appeared promising.
Then the shit hit the fan; 6/
it went from awful to disaster. Posts suggesting we simply no longer be Jewish, that it’s Israel that creates antisemitism, that the Holocaust was exaggerated, etc. Foul. Made the digital press, screenshots and gasps flying around FB and Twitter, 7/
complete with angry denouncement and embittered snark. Online articles.
This morning, he dumped his profile, and, serious damage done, retreated, save for to post through a friend that he appreciates the concern expressed for his health, 8/
but that it’s all because he dared to criticize Israel.
It’s heartbreaking, but despite multiple entreaties to consider based on what I assumed were his own moral groundings, and having myriad possible exit ramps all through, 9/
he, and only he, chose to write what he wrote. Irrespective of being set upon, which he certainly was (it’s Twitter, after all), he went off. At this point, we should all know what to expect on this particular forum.
Terribly, terribly sad, but a mess of his own making. 10/
Not mine, not Israel’s, not those people critical of posts, or shadowy banking cabals smelling of garlic and reeking of abused, ill-gained power. Andy’s.
But the nice thing about a mess is that it can be cleaned up. And the nice thing about a body of work, 11/
especially one so shot through with heartfelt, often anguished appeals to humanism and fundamental decency, is that it can argue convincingly for consideration, provided that consideration is given as well as received.
I will always speak my mind, 12/
but I refuse to forget that someone else’s experience is not my own, and that while I’m never required to agree, I feel it’s an absolute personal responsibility to listen as well as speak, and to consider. If we’re ever to dig out of the various holes we dig for ourselves, 13/
we have to be able to hear each other and consider. Otherwise, we’re sunk. And while it’s up to all of us, the only one I can control is me, ergo my choices.
I’m sad that this ended as it did. If you’re reading this, Andy, I’ll always wish you well, 14/
with hope that, at some point, we can continue to break down this particular thorny barrier with both gusto and mutual understanding, in honor of the spirit and beauty of everything you’ve ever written.
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