Friday, January 11, 2008

Accordions and Painted Birds

BaalHabos was surprised to see accordions in a music video. Here is a clip of Daniel Kahn, a klezmer punk musician and accordion player. Daniel heads up a band called "Painted Bird", which also happens to be the name of Jerzy Kosinki pseudo autobiographical novel which stirred up quite a bit of controversy.

In the novel, a boy travels through Europe, in a surrealistic world of monstrous peasants. Many people assumed that this was a story of Kosinski's survival during the Holocaust, and he always subtly encouraged this assumption.

It turns out that in reality this story was nothing like what he experienced, and furthermore is seems like it may have been plagiarized from Polish sources that many in the US would not be familiar with.

So this guy is no Elie Wiesel. And I started thinking about how when I read this account of his life I felt like many people, myself included, have a natural tendency to hold people like him, Holocaust survivors to a higher ethical standard, when in reality it doesn't seem reasonable or fair. They were just human beings, good, bad, whatever, like any of us.


Blogger Baal Habos said...

I feel like a Rishon. I say a word about squeezboxes and I get a whole post. Thanks!

January 12, 2008 7:03 PM  
Blogger Tobie said...

I feel like the higher standard is somewhat justified because any alleged Holocaust experience places a heavier burden of sensitivity, understanding, and so forth on the rest of us. Having your experience trusted entails a certain 'cost' on the part of society, and so being less trustworthy with regards to it is taking advantage of our well-meaning desire to give you that trust.

January 13, 2008 3:58 AM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...


Did you listen to the clip? How do you like it?


I see what you're saying, but it's kind of like saying that someone in a wheelchair should be held to a higher standard because if they did something wrong they took advantage of our heightened sensitivity...

January 14, 2008 7:25 AM  

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