If you’ve already forgotten who Norman Finkelstein is, he was the obnoxious anti-Israel leftist before Peter Beinart and before Max Blumenthal. That list of names reveals the Finkelstein dilemma.
Norman Finkelstein blames the internet for being unemployable, but his real problem is that there’s a limited career niche for a guy like him. And sooner or later, someone else comes along to take his place. It’s a lesson for Max Blumenthal who is this year’s Norman Finkelstein. And for Peter Beinart who was the Norman Finkelstein of a few years ago.
There’s only room for one Jewish tightly wound anti-Israel celebrity who suddenly pops up and begins explaining how Israel is an evil colonialist enterprise that exploits the Holocaust while ranting about Alan Dershowitz.
My books don’t sell anymore. There are many reasons why they don’t sell but one of the reasons is because people don’t read anymore. Forget about reading books of detail, they don’t read at all. Somebody said to me yesterday you should write a book on the Palestine industry, because so many people are capitalizing on the Palestine struggle and making a career, and I said “Write a book?” [Nowadays] you do two text messages, three tweets, and one Facebook posting.
No one reads anymore? Really? So who’s buying all those books?
I no longer say I’m unemployed. I say I’m unemployable, it’s different. An unemployed suggests at a certain point in the future, you might be employed. That’s not the case with me. I’m unemployable and unfortunately that’s one of the bits of the web, in particular of Google. When I was younger, you applied for a job they typically asked for three references.
Nowadays people don’t ask for references. They just Google your name. And if you Google my name, all sorts of horrifying things come up: Holocaust denier, Nazi apologist, supporter of terrorism. And no responsible administrator in anything, forget about academia, quite literally even the post office. And that’s literal, that’s not poetic. Even for a job at the post office, they won’t consider you.
I suspect the Post Office would consider Finkelstein if he didn’t insist on wearing a Nazi uniform on his delivery route. Considering how popular hating Israel is in academia, I doubt that’s why Finkelstein can’t get a job. I suspect it’s the more basic interpersonal and academic issues that caused him all those problems to begin with.
But Finkelstein does have some teaching prospects…
This year, I’m down to two countries. One is Turkey where I may be teaching, there’s a good chance. The other is Iran and I’ve been working on Iran but so far it hasn’t been successful. So right now, we’re down to Turkey and Iran because I am finding it intolerable at the present moment, this pointless life.
When even Iran doesn’t want you, then you know you’ve hit bottom.