about their project's tact and appropriateness, the last thing
organizers of the Park51 community center needed yesterday was for the
Twitter feed to
becomes, yes, tactless and inappropriate. That's what seems to have happened yesterday though, courtesy of an overzealous intern, the project's newly
sedate Twitter feed explains
while the offending Tweets have been scrubbed, their snarkiness and overt use of the 'jazzhands' hashtag still has the Internet buzzing.
- Biggest Blunder News Buster's Alana
Goodman says the low-point of the rogue intern's tweetspree may have
been a subsequently deleted remark "mocking [Israeli newspaper]
Ha'aretz with references to Jewish culture." Here's what the original
said: "On a side note,
if Haaretz likes publishing fables, perhaps they could go back to the
Yiddish ones with parables #welikethosebetter"
- Disturbing The day's events left conservative blogger Kathleen
McKinley could only scratch her head. "I have followed it from the
beginning," writes McKinley, "and my primary reaction to it is that I
can't believe how unprofessional [it] is. [It] is snarky and
condescending. Not good attributes for someone who wishes to create an
- Not Helping Themselves Politico's Ben
Smith said the "hyperactive Twitter feed" was the latest part of
Park51's "unusual media strategy." With leader Iman Feisal Rauf
traveling in Malaysia, Smith writes that "organizers have left most of
the defense to surrogates, often mid-level Democratic politicians like
the Mayor of Teaneck, N.J. and the Manhattan Borough President."
Cool for the Room Capital New York's Gillian
Reagan suggests Park51 social media director Oz Sultan
fundamentally misjudged the composition of his tweetstream. Writes
A native of the New York social media scene,
Sultan treated Park51's tweetstream as a means of communication with the
natives on Twitter, who'd have gotten the "snark" without blinking,
notwithstanding the fact that the tweeting was being done in the name of
an institution in the thick of a overheated, international
But the positioning of these
tweets also reflects the general, easy multiculturalism of Manhattan
elites. Just as many private school students of the Upper East Side are
already familiar with the Cordoba Initiative from any number of
interfaith school field-trips, Jews, Muslims, Christians and ethnic
majorities and minorities trade an easy banter about cultural difference
that would be hard for a blogger from Omaha to relate to.
intern posted the "fables" tweet returned to the well to explain that a
Jewish aunt had told a lot of these sorts of parables in his or her
youth; true or not, relevant or not, the explanation would likely have
been unnecessary for a tweetstream with an exclusively New York
Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments
or send an email to the author at
rgustini at theatlantic dot com.
You can share ideas for stories on the Open Wire.