Thursday, November 02, 2006

What the--?

[Posted by reader_iam]

Yeah, I get the Halloween thing about costumes. I get that it's supposed to be scary. I even get its roots and history.

And, yes, I've been on this earth long enough to have seen a whole array of costumes over the years, and to have been witness to various forms of bacchanalia.

But this? Dressing as a suicide bomber and re-enacting the execution of a hostage? (If you don't follow the link and see the pictures, there's no point in reading further: just trying to save you time.)

Of course, people have dressed up as all sorts of things, all sorts of beasts, and all sorts of people. Of course, they have the right to do that and express themselves any way they like. Of course, it's just a party, just Halloween, just a costume.

All that.

But--damn! How about that re-enactment?

That's the part that's really getting me.

I understand what Volokh is saying, and--regrettably, to say the least, by the way--I've seen a few Nazi and Hitler costumes over the years, along with other pretty vile choices.

However, I don't ever, ever recall one of the people dressed in one of those execrable costumes re-enacting the gassing of Jews, or other acts in keeping with their ill-chosen get-ups. *****Much less in the presence of a representative of a major, well-known institution of any type, much less one of higher learning.*****[See update!]

Maybe it's just the company I've kept, which I've never had described by anybody as narrow or particularly exclusive, though I've sometimes gotten the "scruffy" accusation at certain particular times.

Holy, moley. What a jaw-dropper.

Clarification: I re-read this and realized that I need to acknowledge that I jumped to a conclusion. A picture is posted depicting Gutmann and the costumed man. But there is no picture that indicates that she witnessed the the re-enactment. It is perfectly possible that she was unaware. Thus I have placed the statement where I implied Gutmann was present in asterisks. What I should have said was something along the lines "at a party thrown by...". It could be argued that that's a distinction without a difference, but I don't think it is. If she wasn't aware of the re-enactment, she can't be accused of standing by and watching. But there are other reasonable questions, not just with regard to the picture taken of her with the costumed partier, but also with regard to what sort of atmosphere and supervision existed that such a display was possible, and "welcomed" by at least some of those in attendance.

I also acknowledge that there might be more to this story, but Googling didn't yield it. So we shall see.