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I am no fan of Nascar, and I am certainly no fan of Formula 1.  I couldn't tell you the difference without doing some quick searches on Wikipedia.  Nonetheless, this past week, Formula 1 has been the gift that keeps on giving in a way that only Mark Sanford can appreciate.

On July 4, 2009. Formula 1 boss Bennie Ecclestone dropped a whopper when he said, "democracy hasn't done a lot of good for many countries -- including this one [England]" and "In a lot of ways, terrible to say this I suppose, but apart from the fact that Hitler got taken away and persuaded to do things that I have no idea whether he wanted to do or not, he was in the way that he could command a lot of people, able to get things done."

As you can imagine, the uproar was instantaneous and included a call by the World Jewish Congress for Ecclestone to step down or be fired.  Over on this side of the Atalntic, we watched in horror (or amusement) as Mark Sanford kept digging himself deeper and deeper.  But Sanford has met his match in Ecclestone.  In "apologizing" (which I put in quotes because it was hardly an apology) Ecclestone came out with yet another incredible remark, this time blatantly anti-semitic.  About the WJC's calls that he resign, Ecclestone said "If the WJC is influential, it's a pity they didn't sort the banks out."

Of course, one of the oldest anti-semitic canards is Jewish influence over the banks.  It cannot be coincidence that that Ecclestone's response to the World Jewish Congress is to suggest they invoke their "influence" by fixing the bank.  I seriously doubt he would have had the same thing to say if it was anyone but Jews calling for his resignation.

What makes this truly fascinating is that it follows on the heels of a bizarre incident with Max Mosley.  Mosley is the President of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), the governing body of Formula 1 Racing.  Mosley's dad was the former leader of the British Union of Fascists, a racist, anti-semitic, pro-Hitler and Mussolini, British political party.  Not only that, Mosley was involved in a wierd sex scandal where it was claimed by the tabloid press that he paid prostitutes to re-enact a "Nazi" sexual fantasy.  Mosley actually won a lawsuit because while he sexual dilliance invoked sada-masochistic themes, nothing could be called a Nazi-themed.  There were similar calls for Mosley to resign.  Mosley's biggest backer...Bennie Ecclestone.

I wish I could say that this was an irrelevant occurence.  However, Formula 1, like Nascar, is widely popular.  Whether we like it or not, prominent leaders in the world of sport have power and influence.  Heck, Hall of Famers like Jim Bunning end up in the US Senate (and 1st round busts like Heath Shuler end up in the House).  I know the initial reaction is to dismiss it as some kooky guy from European car racing, so who really cares.  But we need to stand up to bigotry everythwere and anywhere it rears its ugly head.  FIFA, operating all over the world and a ripe body to be exploited by political causes, does a pretty decent job responding to hatred, bigotry and xenaphobia.  It would be nice to see Formula 1 follow the same path.  

Originally posted to dmsarad on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 04:03 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (6+ / 0-)

    "There is a limit to the legitimate interference of collective opinion with individual independence" - J.S. Mill

    by dmsarad on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 04:03:30 PM PDT

    •  Many upper class Brits thought that Hitler (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mickT, dmsarad, smallgal

      was better than rule by the masses as seen in the Soviet revolution. They were very divided in the thirties until the war started. Some still hold those old attitudes. Anti-semitism can be seen in older Brit-lit such as the stories of HH Munro, known as Saki or in "The 39 Steps" by Buchan. Good writing, but provincially anti-semitic in the description of Jewish people in high society.

      BTW, since my high-school age daughter is Jewish, when does her portion of control over international banking start? Starting college soon, will need the money. Send details if available.

      Yes we did, yes we will. President Obama

      by marketgeek on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 04:16:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  lotta sports and non-sports (0+ / 0-)

    that are insulated and incestuous enough to have that culture of bigotry.  Everyone knows Ecclestone is an idiot. Golf is still filled with this although the presence of Woods is shiney some of that famous disinfectant in some of those corners.

    "you have the right to your own opinion. You do not have the right to your own facts" -Daniel Patrick Moynihan

    by SteveP on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 04:13:38 PM PDT

    •  Idiot? (0+ / 0-)

      I don't know of too many people who think Bernie is an idiot. Many people do not like how he runs the commercial interests of Formula 1, myself included, but on straight business terms, the man is wildly successful, and nobody handed it to him. The guy started out as a used parts trader, part-time mechanic, and part-time club driver. I make no claims as to his ethics.

      As to his relationship to Mosley, they go back a long way. It appears to be a love/hate thing. Mosley is another one who I wish would just step down. However, it is beyond argument that he helped make the sport much safer for participants and fans. He also at one time did a pretty decent job of balancing the regulatory aspects of FIA with the needs of the individual teams.

      All that being said, both men should have retired, or should have been retired, about 7 years ago.

      •  idiot as in his conduct of his personal behaviour (0+ / 0-)

        not implying anything about his business success.

        "you have the right to your own opinion. You do not have the right to your own facts" -Daniel Patrick Moynihan

        by SteveP on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 04:47:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Gripe... (0+ / 0-)

    What makes this truly fascinating is that it follows on the heels of a bizarre incident with Max Mosley.  Mosley is the President of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), the governing body of Formula 1 Racing.  Mosley's dad was the former leader of the British Union of Fascists, a racist, anti-semitic, pro-Hitler and Mussolini, British political party.  Not only that, Mosley was involved in a wierd sex scandal where it was claimed by the tabloid press that he paid prostitutes to re-enact a "Nazi" sexual fantasy.  Mosley actually won a lawsuit because while he sexual dilliance invoked sada-masochistic themes, nothing could be called a Nazi-themed.  There were similar calls for Mosley to resign.  Mosley's biggest backer...Bennie Ecclestone.

    This is a bunch of nothing. Smearing a man through his father and what the tabloids wrote, especially when they were slapped down in court, cheapens your whole diary. If you have something on Mosley, then present it, otherwise...

    ...we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.
    -- Pres. Barack H. Obama, Jan. 20, 2009

    by davewill on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 04:51:06 PM PDT

    •  don't agree (0+ / 0-)

      I think you need to understand British libel law before you make that claim.  Unlike the US, the burden is on the publisher to defend the statement.  Thus, because the paper could not prove it was a Nazi sexual fantasy, Mosley won.  If this were US law, Mosley would have to prove the allegation both false and published with malice as Mosley is a public figure.  He would not have won that lawsuit.

      When the son of the greatest British fascist gets embroiled in something like this, I don't think it is smearing the son with the crimes of the father.

      "There is a limit to the legitimate interference of collective opinion with individual independence" - J.S. Mill

      by dmsarad on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 05:22:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  British Tabloids! (0+ / 0-)

        That changes everything. I take it all back. With such high journalistic standards, I'm sure the court verdict was a fluke.

        ...we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.
        -- Pres. Barack H. Obama, Jan. 20, 2009

        by davewill on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 05:37:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  We do not agree. (0+ / 0-)

        If this were US law, Mosley would have to prove the allegation both false and published with malice as Mosley is a public figure.  He would not have won that lawsuit.

        No, he probably wouldn't.  More is the shame to the American legal system.  If you make a public claim about me you should have to prove it.

        When the son of the greatest British fascist gets embroiled in something like this, I don't think it is smearing the son with the crimes of the father.

        So, you are saying if someone happens to have a kinky sex life that they should be punished for what their fathers did in another field of life?  Duck Fat.

        I guess I am lucky my father was pretty vanilla...    Seem to me that you are imposing 'extra' restrictions on his sex life because of who his father was.

        It would seem to me that such despotic ideas are a total FAIL and the people have revolted and given their lives fighting them.

        Best Wishes, Demena Left/Right: -8.38; Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

        by Demena on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 05:37:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not sure what you are talking about (0+ / 0-)

          in the US, a public figure such as Mosley would have to prove actual malice in the publication.  Saying it was "Nazi-themes" instead of just "sado-masochistic" in the US would be protected under Sullivan and its progeny like Milkovich.

          "There is a limit to the legitimate interference of collective opinion with individual independence" - J.S. Mill

          by dmsarad on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 05:48:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  If you google NASCAR, racism (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mickT, dmsarad
    You will find that NASCAR is being very proactive in trying to eliminate it from it's teams and it's reputation.

    "Go well through life"-Me (As far as I know)

    by MTmofo on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 05:00:58 PM PDT

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