Someday there will be a hardcore band called the “Telegenic Dead,” and the world will have Benjamin Netanyahu to thank for it. Apart from that, the world won’t have anything else to thank the rotten SOB for. His epitaph should read, “I was a bigger dick than Cheney.”
I would have thought the term “telegenic dead” referred to people like Pat Sajack and Ted Koppel, or Cokie Roberts or Peggy Noonan, but I guess not. It turns out that in this, as in so much else, I was (untelegenically) dead wrong. The term refers to a class of people, many of them children, who just willed themselves to be dead so Hamas could use them as propaganda. Imagine the deviousness of that! And there are so many of them too, around 1400 and counting, although to these unpracticed eyes they don’t appear too telegenic. But who am I to say? I’ll freely concede that Netanyahu is better at judging the relative pulchritude of mutilated dead bodies than I am.
But I can sympathize with the problem. Americans have had some trouble with telegenically dead Arabs too. We discovered that the only effective solution was not to show them on TV at all. It works like a charm. No doubt the Yemenis are propping up a few telegenic dead right now, foolishly thinking we’ll see them here in America and be shamed into no longer killing them. How little they know, those poor naive people. If they weren’t all terrorists who hate America it would almost be cute.
You might occasionally get some pain in the ass reporter who wants to dig deep, tell the truth and all that other outdated horseshit. But we put him in combat fatigues and let him play soldier by embedding him with troops. That usually shuts them right up. It’s like giving chocolate milk and Play-Doh to a five year old. They just love it!
What the Palestinians have always needed was a highly telegenic living leader. Someone with charisma and oratorical skill. Someone genuinely committed to non-violence who could credibly take the moral high ground. Someone like that might turn the tide of American public opinion and force the US government to change course. But Martin Luther King isn’t available, so that option is probably out. But there is hope.
Note to Palestinians: Find some young, attractive Arabs, preferably educated in the United States and fluent in American English, to hit the airwaves and spread your message. They have to be hip and naturally conversant in American popular culture, but they must also be mature. Above all, they have to be westernized and secular. They have to be instantly recognizable as good guys to Mr. and Mrs non-passport holding American. They cannot be scary-ish foreigners who call suicide bombers martyrs. Nor can they be strident radicals glaring at the screen and shouting cliches like “By any means necessary.”
They must not chant puerile slogans reminiscent of American protesters on their first weekend away from mommy and daddy’s house. Here are some ground rules that must be observed: The “Hey Hey, Ho Ho” construct has got to go, forever. Serious adults with a serious purpose don’t sing nursery school rhymes. College students looking for attention do. Serious adults looking to be taken seriously comport themselves with dignity. Two. Code Pink and their juvenile theatrics must be absolutely forbidden to put in any appearance whatsoever. They have never understood the simple fact that if you look and act like a clown you will be treated like one. They set any cause back twenty years. If they did not exist the FBI would invent them. Three. The second somebody shows up with a “Free Mumia” sign the cause is lost, utterly and irretrievably lost. You may as well bring Arafat back from the dead with his sunglasses and combat fatigues. The negative effect on the American public wouldn’t be any worse.
American radicals are utterly tone deaf to these things, which is why they miserably fail to persuade the American public about anything. Avoid their mistakes. Be hip, but be articulate and mature. The Israelis know how to do this. Watch them and imitate their methods. You can win.