It is one thing to never forget, no matter the evil we are faced with, our own humanity. It is quite another, however, and quite dangerous, to forget that we are dealing with evil. Such a thing not only invites more evil, worse still, it is a cruel slap in the face to the victims of evil.

And it was the victims I thought of as I read David Remnick’s Saturday New Yorker essay, a poorly timed and even shameful attempt to define evil by something other than evil.

Remnick’s thoughtlessness does not come from reporting on the background of the two men suspected of unspeakable acts, but in his attempt to ask us to sympathize with them as he defines them by their luxury problems:

Anzor’s elder son, Tamerlan, appeared never to connect fully with American life. “I don’t have a single American friend,” Tamerlan told a photographer named Johannes Hirn, who asked to take pictures of him training as a boxer. “I don’t understand them.”…

Continue reading →