Alterman agonistes

Alterman agonistes
: So I ran into Eric Alterman at the New York Mag/Guardian media/war confab (overblogged, below).

I thought it was a friendly how-do-you-do during the coffee break: Good to see you, Eric.

Eric thought otherwise and took out after me. He said he almost responded to my “attack” on him (here and here) regarding his stance on attacks on Jews in France.

To recap: He said that the attacks were coming from Muslim immigrants angered by the occupation of Palestine. I said that by seeing a motive other than hate he is ascribing a justification to anti-Semitism and that is a moral mistake.

We went back and forth for a few minutes. He said he was trying to learn and understand the reasons behind these acts. I said he was giving a hate crime credit for rationality it does not deserve. He made some metaphor about learning the behavior of mosquitoes so he can avoid them. I tried to make a joke that he just saw me as a pest now. He was not to be amused, not to be trifled with.

A TV crew was getting ready to interview him and had its camera turned pointed in our direction. Alterman pushed the microphone away and snapped, “I’m not talking to you.”

He turned to me and said, “Your attack is unfair.” Then je walked away.

I want to emphasize that we had a perfectly friendly conversation later. That’s not my point.

What’s interesting here is what happens when bloggers meet after having a disagreement onine. So we had a public disagreement. Happens. But that apparently festered in private. Well, I say the better thing to do is to continue the discussion in public until you work it out (unlikely) or tire out. I wish Eric had responded, in public and in kind; that’s oddly easier to deal with than a private spat.

You talk to my blog, you talk to me. Talk to me, talk to my blog.