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Bromwich on Bronner’s shocking euphemism

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We’ve made a lot of Ethan Bronner’s implicit endorsement of the Israeli battle-orders for West Bank nighttime raids: "cutting the grass." David Bromwich’s analysis:

Love of order may present itself as a principle without exceptions so long as the order in view is that of our own society. In practice, the principle gets scaled back when disorder is seen to emanate from our own, i.e. the people to whom we owe loyalty and protection. So Bronner, all too easily, picked up the shocking euphemism "cutting the grass" to give the quality of a suburban chore to the IDF suppression of Palestinian disorders on the West Bank. Why the easy adoption of a prejudicial usage? Because it seemed obvious to Bronner that the bad people should be kept down, leveled like grass, etc. Part of the natural order of things. Yet he would never use such a phrase about a violent action against the West Bank settlers–even if the violence were carried out by the IDF and the settlers were a lynch mob.

David Bromwich

David Bromwich's latest book is "American Breakdown: The Trump Years and How They Befell Us." He teaches literature at Yale and is a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post and has written on politics and culture for The New Republic, The Nation, The New York Review of Books, and other magazines. He is editor of Edmund Burke's selected writings On Empire, Liberty, and Reform and co-editor of the Yale University Press edition of On Liberty.

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