A friend asked me what I thought of an Atlantic article pointing to the fact that, sixty years after Brown v. Board of Education, America’s schools are once again becoming segregated, as whites (and Asians and East Indians) do whatever they can to flee predominantly black schools. Black schools are academically much, much weaker than white schools and, as the whites flee, the infrastructure of the schools declines.
The article focuses heavily on the fact that academically-oriented black children suffer badly from this de facto segregation, and strongly implies that white racism is at fault. I readily concede that this re-segregation is happening and that the tragic result is that bright black kids are having their futures destroyed. I don’t believe, though, that whites (and Asians and East Indians) are motivated by racism when they abandon previously integrated schools.
The problem isn’t race, it’s culture. (Call it “culturism,” if you will.) Thus, white parents aren’t saying “I can’t let my little precious go to school with those black people because they are an inferior race who will taint her through contact.” Instead, what they’re saying is “I want my precious to have the best education possible and that requires, among other things, that the other families at the school have the same goal.”
What these white (and East Indian and Asian) parents know is that black culture is not education-oriented. Indeed, for some time, among the children at least, it’s been anti-education, with black children who work hard at school castigated by their black peers for “selling out” or being “Oreos.”
Hispanic culture is also resistant to education. As to that, I actually have some first hand anecdotal data from people who have worked closely with the Hispanic community in the education context. In the late 1980s, very upper crust Hispanic friends of my family had set up an institution to try to teach Hispanic parents to encourage their children at school. These friends told me that the parents, most from rural areas, had the farmer’s mindset, which is to get the kids out of school and to work as soon as possible. Even though the parents came to America for economic opportunity, they couldn’t wrap their minds around the idea that, subject to some exceptions, education is the key to economic success in America. Children old enough to work were actively discouraged from seeking an education.
Twenty-five years later, my sister-in-law, who works in the Los Angeles school district, tells me the same story: Many Hispanic parents prefer their kids to earn some money sooner, rather than more money later. Sure, there’s a bell curve, with certain black or Hispanic kids and their families focused hungrily on an educational goal but, for the most part, neither the children nor their parents focus their energy on education.
White, Asian, and East Indian cultures, for the most part, are obsessed about education as a necessity for thriving in America. Parents in these cultures understand that the school’s intellectual environment matters. If the school culture sees every parent in the community demanding hard work and high grades, that will trickle down to the children, who will create a competitive, exciting academic culture. So yes, white parents are fleeing predominantly black schools (and doing so in whatever way possible), but they’re not doing so for the old-fashioned racial reasons. It’s all about education cultures versus anti-education cultures. Culturism, right?
I anticipate that someone will point out that the same article says that, when the schools were first integrated, the integration was successful. I don’t doubt that. Back then, integrated schools were thrilling, shiny, new toys. As the toys lost their gloss, though, people made less of an effort.
More importantly, though, the integration happened thirty-five years ago. That’s an important date, because it was before political correctness came along to poison things. In the late 1970s and throughout most of the 1980s, teachers could reasonably expect equal effort from Joe Black and Moe White.
Thanks to the scourge of political correctness, however, it’s now racist to expect black students to work as hard and perform as well as white students. Heck, with microaggression, a new twist on political correctness, it’s even racist if the teacher, when he walks into the classroom, says good morning to Moe White before he says it to Joe Black — never mind that Moe White sits next to the door, while Joe Black sits on the opposite site of the classroom.
Culture, not race. Culture, not race. Culture, not race…. Although that’s not quite true.
There is a horrible racism pervading the American education system, but it comes from the Left. The Left has successfully argued that blacks are so mentally inferior to other races that they are incapable of elevating their culture to include good behavior, hard work, and ambition. Until that grotesque Leftist racism is killed, and blacks are recognized as fully equal to other races, and therefore capable of academic rigor, whites, Asians, and East Indians will do anything they can to insulate their children from black (and Hispanic) culture in America’s public schools.
If Phil Robertson continues his refusal to bow down to the gods of political correctness, Lee Habeeb will have explained why:
It had never happened before. When big, powerful TV executives ask a star to apologize for what they deem inappropriate comments or behavior, the star simply complies. A team of publicists is assembled, the star does the obligatory apology tour for the press and promises never to do or say what he did or said again. Ever.
But the TV gods never met a man like Phil Robertson. Or his family. When they decided to place the patriarch of the Duck Dynasty clan on a non-suspension suspension for his comments to a GQ magazine writer about homosexuality, the executives at A&E created a problem.
Because this family believes in a bigger God. The same God that roughly 70 percent of Americans believe in. The Robertsons take their faith seriously, and one of the more important elements of that faith involves putting no god before theirs. Not even the suits at the big network.
Read the rest (and all of it is worth reading) here.
I don’t know about you, but I am entranced by the notion of someone who won’t be bullied into apologizing for something he believes. Social bullying has never appealed to me. And if you want to see how bad that bullying is, you can see that GLAAD makes old Joe McCarthy look like an amateur.
UPDATE: A&E caved. Let’s hope other conservatives will learn to stick to their guns.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) occurs at the intersection of Africa and Islam — meaning brown people and black people. It involves taking a little girl and cutting off her clitoris and, perhaps, her labia. In extreme circumstances, it means sewing together the opening to her vagina. It’s purpose is a simple one: to destroy sexual pleasure or even the possibility of sex. If sex is possible, it’s painful. Of course, for all these little girls, sex will still be an imperative when they are grown (or, in same cases, almost grown) and forced to marry.
Aside from the horrible mutilation, the process itself is medieval too. It’s done without anesthetics and using the most primitive instruments, including rusty, dull razor blades. The notion of sanitation is laughable.
There is absolutely nothing good that can be said about FGM. Unlike circumcision (which I understand many decry), it is not a covenant with God, it does not provide a sanitary function (whether in the Sinai desert or elsewhere), and it does not help prevent sexually transmitted diseases. It is solely about control and denying women sexual pleasure as one means of that control.
Every right thinking person in the world should be opposed to it. It is the modern equivalent of the suttee (or sati) that the English Governor-General of India, William Bentinck brought to an end. That practice, of course, involved a widowed wife crawling onto her dead husband’s funeral pyre to be burned alive along with his corpse. Bentinck was fully alive to the risks he ran in challenging an established cultural practice. He understood that he could put British lives at risk, but he determined in 1829 that moral considerations must outweigh pragmatic concerns:
Prudence and self-interest would counsel me to tread in the footsteps of my predecessors [who allowed suttee]. But in a case of such momentous importance to humanity and civilization, that man must be reckless of all his present or future happiness who could listen to the dictates of so wicked and selfish a policy. With the firm undoubting conviction entertained upon this question, I should be guilty of little short of the crime of multiplied murder, if I could hesitate in the performance of this solemn obligation. I have been already stung with this feeling. Every day’s delay adds a victim to the dreadful list, which might perhaps have been prevented by a more early submission of the present question.
Convinced that respect for another’s culture and fear himself and his countrymen must yield to morality, Bentinck outlawed suttee in December 1829.
Reading Bentinck’s writing on the subject, it’s quite obvious that he never said to himself, “Well, it’s their culture and who am I to judge?” To the extent that he recognized suttee was part of Indian culture, his calculus was “How much damage will it do to the British to squash this cultural excrescence?”
Nowadays, though, political correctness has left people unable to value the best that their culture has to offer. We no longer say, “I judge them, but pragmatic considerations demand that I ignore them.” Instead, multiculturalism has led us to the point where we say, “Well, those black and brown people have their own way of doing things, and it’s clearly good for them. I wouldn’t do it myself, but who am I to demand that those backward folks meet higher standards of morality and human decency.”
I’m not throwing around hypotheticals when I say that last sentence. A British-based campaigner against FGM, who was herself subject to the procedure, was left in tears when 19 people in England cheerfully signed a petition encouraging FGM in Britain. The phony petition argued that, because FGM is part of African culture, it should be respected. Over the course of thirty minutes, 19 people thought that it was fine to sign on to barbarism if a non-white culture liked it:
A female genital mutilation (FGM) campaigner was left in tears after an experiment intended to assess the impact of political correctness on the fight against cutting saw 19 people sign a fake pro-FGM petition within 30 minutes.
Leyla Hussein, 32, who suffered female genital mutilation as a child, approached shoppers in Northampton with the petition, which argued that as FGM was part of her culture, it should be protected.
During the 30-minute experiment, 19 people signed the petition and just one refused – a result Hussein blamed on the all-pervading culture of political correctness.
Speaking to the Evening Standard following the experiment, Hussein, who also appears in upcoming Channel 4 documentary, The Cruel Cut, said: ‘I kept using the words “it’s just mutilation”. They were like “yes, you are right”. How can anyone think this is OK?’
Warning that politically correct attitudes could hamper the fight against FGM, Hussein added: ‘FGM is not culture, it is violence.
‘Stop using the culture word. This is happening to children. We are human beings, we can’t watch children being cut, I don’t care what culture you belong to.’
‘It is incredible that UK citizens would sign a petition supporting child abuse,’ Efua Dorkenoo, Advocacy Director of Equality Now’s FGM Programme, told MailOnline.
Last week, Emily Yoffe, who writes regularly at Slate set of a firestorm when she wrote a post that offered what normal, non-politically correct people, recognize as extremely good advice: Tweens and young women, if you don’t want to get raped, don’t get drunk. Yoffe wasn’t giving rapists, even drunk rapists, a pass. She was just saying that, as a practical matter, a young woman who is to incapacitated to make rational decisions or to lift a hand in her own defense, is a natural victim:
A 2009 study of campus sexual assault found that by the time they are seniors, almost 20 percent of college women will become victims, overwhelmingly of a fellow classmate. Very few will ever report it to authorities. The same study states that more than 80 percent of campus sexual assaults involve alcohol. Frequently both the man and the woman have been drinking.
Let’s be totally clear: Perpetrators are the ones responsible for committing their crimes, and they should be brought to justice. But we are failing to let women know that when they render themselves defenseless, terrible things can be done to them. Young women are getting a distorted message that their right to match men drink for drink is a feminist issue. The real feminist message should be that when you lose the ability to be responsible for yourself, you drastically increase the chances that you will attract the kinds of people who, shall we say, don’t have your best interest at heart. That’s not blaming the victim; that’s trying to prevent more victims.
Honestly, I don’t think Yoffe could have been more clear.
I happen to agree with Yoffe 100%. I agree to the extent that, whether sober or drunk, certain young men see a drunken woman, especially an unconscious drunken woman, as a perfect target for rape.
I also agree to the extent that drunken young women say “yes” when, had they been sober, they would have said “no.” Men aren’t the only ones who wear beer goggles. When the girls or young women wake up the next morning filled with regrets, they tend to whitewash their complicity in drunken sex by claiming “rape.” Those fake cries of rape destroy the men against whom they’re aimed, but in today’s culture, these young women are so brainwashed that they actually convince themselves that their drunken “yes” equaled a rape — and then they go around suffering permanent emotional damage from the mantle of victim-hood that they draped upon themselves.
I know that, on the liberal side of the blogosphere, people went ballistic over Yoffe’s article. I didn’t have to read those posts to know what they were saying. I linked to Yoffe’s post on my Facebook page and got more comments than I’ve gotten on any other thing I’ve ever linked. With the exception of comments from three conservative friends, all of my other liberal friends said variations on exactly the same thing: While Yoffe is correct factually, they cannot approve of her saying what she said because it’s unfair to girls to say that they have a responsibility to protect themselves.
Please think about this for a moment. These liberals agree that girls who drink to excess are vulnerable to rape and other attacks. They simply think that this truism — one with huge practical implications for women’s safety — must go unsaid because its offensive to feminist ideology to state in any way, shape, or form, that young women have a responsibility to protect themselves.
In the comments section, I got all sorts of arguments against warning girls that drunkenness can be their undoing and all of these arguments were premised upon enormous logical fallacies:
There’s no excuse for men to rape. I agreed, but pointed out that there’s a virtue to making it harder for them to do so.
Suggesting that women can take proactive steps to prevent rape will make them feel guilty if they are raped. Yes, maybe, I said, but it will also mean fewer women get raped.
Just because people are drunk doesn’t mean they rape. Huh? Well, no, most drunk young men thankfully don’t rape drunk or unconscious women, but some do. Given that reality, why shouldn’t the women avoid the risks of running across the “bad” drunk guys? And certainly one of the most effective ways to avoid these guys is for you to keep your wits about you.
Men need to be told not to rape, rather than telling women not to drink. But, but . . . can’t we do both? And incidentally, we already tell men not to rape, a proscription that carries with it a heavy legal penalty. Despite that, some still do, whether they are drunk or sober.
Saying that drunken women are essentially willing victims is a free pass for men. Men are always morally responsible for their actions. If a thief robs a house, he’s still morally and legally in the wrong. But it doesn’t mean homeowners are relieved of the obligation to lock their doors.
It’s not fair to tell women not to drink if we also don’t tell other people not to do things that will protect them from crimes. Okay, now they’re really getting desperate. How often are we told to lock our houses, carry our purses so snatchers can’t grab them, check our surroundings before going to the ATM, lock our car doors, etc.? But even if we weren’t told these things, there’s a difference between crimes of property and crimes of person. While having our house broken into feels like a violation (been there, felt that), it’s not the same as having our person violated. That means that the need for warnings about careless behavior with our bodies should demand more attention than for careless behavior with our property.
Since I’ve been working on Mr. Conservative, I’ve spent way too much time writing about rape, sexual assault, and pedophilia. In 90% of those stories, alcohol is a factor. It’s definitely a factor in terms of the malfeasor’s conduct, but it’s equally a factor in terms of the victim’s conduct. This is especially true in the cases of the high school girls who find pictures of themselves on social networks naked or being sexually assaulted. Two things invariably happen: (1) The girls admit, or witnesses confirm, that the teenage victims had drunk themselves insensible; and (2) the other students at the school place more blame on the drunken victim than on the drunken perpetrator(s).
This last isn’t fair. Indeed, it’s absolutely vile. The fact remains, though, that outside of the rarefied world of elite feminism, it’s a reality: On the street, kids know enough about the world to believe that girls shouldn’t drunk themselves to vulnerability and, if they do, they shouldn’t destroy some guy’s life by complaining if he takes advantage of that situation.
The best thing that the feminists can do for girls dealing with the real world, rather than the elite’s dream of a real world, is to issue constant, graphic warnings telling teenage girls not to get drunk. If their body is a house, getting drunk is the equivalent of handing the keys to the guy trolling the neighborhood looking for a house to rob.
The debate about the Washington Redskin’s nickname – the Redskins – took an extremely ugly turn today when the New York Daily News published a cartoon showing a Nazi flag with a swastika, a Confederate flag, the and Redskins’ logo, and then put a caption underneath all three of them that stated “Archaic Symbols of Pride and Heritage.”
Actually, it’s not just an ugly turn. It also reveals the profound stupidity and deep racism behind the move to force the Redskins to change their name. To walk you through the embarrassing subtext behind the movement, begin by thinking of that old Sesame Street song about “one of these things is not like the other one. With that in mind, ask yourself which of the following three flags is different from the other two?
A. The swastika’s message was “Aryans are superior and all other races are slave races or should be exterminated.”
B. The Confederate flag’s message is understood by many, both those who wave it and those who oppose it, to mean that “Whites are superior to blacks, and blacks should be slaves in perpetuity.”
C. The Redskins’ team logo is “Native Americans are awesome warriors and we, an American football team, take inspiration from them.”
Hmmm. That’s a tough one. Which could be different?
Well, if you’re a person of ordinary common sense and intelligence, you’ve figured out that the Washington Redskins’ logo is completely different from the swastika or the Confederate flag. Rather than denigrating another race, it pays another race homage. If you want to go all shaman-y on this one, the Indian warrior is kind of like the team’s totem (and totems are important to Native American culture), with the team hoping to take on the warrior’s attributes.
However, if you’re not a person of ordinary common sense and intelligence but are, instead, one of America’s “elite,” educated at Ivy League schools or keeping the seat warm in a telecasting booth at football games, this not-so-subtle distinction totally eludes you. As far as you’re concerned, if anyone other than a Native American references Native Americans, it must be an insult. Because if you’re an “elite,” you’re that dumb (and that racist).
Fortunately, the Redskins’ sponsors don’t seem to be in any hurry to ditch the team name — which is unsurprising given that the Redskins is is the second most profitable in the NFL. Nor do the fans seem to care. This is not a grassroots movement. This is not even an astroturf movement. This is an elite, silk-carpet-carefully-woven-to-look-like-grass movement. It’s a fake every step of the way, and real fans should ignore it completely.
(This post originally appeared in slightly different form at Mr. Conservative.)
One of the things that characterizes the rule of law is that it applies equally to all citizens. The rich man’s son who vandalizes a shop is prosecuted as vigorously as the poor man’s son who does the same. That the rich man’s son can afford a good lawyer is the random luck of life. America can provide equality of opportunity, but nothing, not even socialism, can guarantee equality of outcome. The important thing for purposes of the rule of law is that the law doesn’t give the rich man’s son a pass.
The rule of law also has to be grounded in common sense and reality. That’s why Anatole France was being nonsensical when he famously said “In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread.” The reality is that a rich man, unless crazy, does none of those things — but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the law is unfair if societal good demands that we value property or try to keep streets safe for all citizens. The law is what it is. In the case of theft, vagrancy, and begging, it isn’t the law that should change but, perhaps, the availability of opportunities and, as needed, charity.
Common sense has long-dictated, at least since 9/11, that the best way to stop terrorism directed at Americans is to keep a close eye on people, especially men, who practice a strict form of Islam and on disaffected young men who take psychotropic drugs. These two categories of people have been responsible for almost all, or maybe all, of the mass killings against Americans over the last decade and more.
When it comes to the mentally ill, we keep talking about monitoring them, but we don’t do it. Lack of political will, lack of political and social organization, civil rights issues, and the fact that it’s more fun to rail against guns than against insane people (poor things) means that this won’t change any time soon.
Even worse, our government has made the “politically correct” decision to refuse to monitor with extra focus those young men who embrace radical Islam (e.g., the Tsarnaevs or Nidal Hassan). It’s not fair, we’re told. Profiling will make law-abiding Muslims (and the vast majority of Muslims in America are law-abiding) uncomfortable. It’s racist and mean to assume that, because someone is Arab-looking, and sweating, and smelling of rose water, and murmuring “Allahu Akbar” under his breath to think that he’s up to a bit of no good — never mind that, when the bomb goes off or the plane falls from the sky, any Muslims in the area will be just as dead as their non-Muslim compatriots.
Heck, we’ve allowed minority groups to prey on each other for decades for fear of causing offense. The number one target of violent, young, black and Hispanic males is . . . violent, young, black and Hispanic males, followed closely by all the hapless black and Hispanic children, old people, mothers, and fathers who have to share communities with these monsters of violence. Because it looks bad for white police to go after these monsters, their communities must suffer. The Gods of Political Correctness delight in human sacrifices, and the younger, more innocent, and more tender the better.
Americans therefore fully understand that our government, for “diversity,” or “multicultural,” or “politically correct” reasons (all of those terms speak to the same end), absolutely refuses to look first at the obvious suspects (young, radical Muslim men) before casting its net wide to sweep in people who are trying to avoid capture by looking less obvious. It’s not likely that the Minnesota granny has a bomb in her brassiere, but it’s possible. A good national security system doesn’t assume that anyone is innocent, but it does concentrate its resources where they make they most sense.
So here’s the deal with the NSA spying: We know with some certainty that, for Leftist political reasons, the NSA is not making an effort to scrutinize the population most likely to go all “Allahu Akbar” on us. Instead, for politically correct reasons, it’s spying on everyone. In essence, it’s creating a haystack of information, with extra paddings of politically correct, multiculturalist hay wrapped around any spot where a needle might hide.
If politics means that the system won’t look for the obvious bad guys, what is it looking for then? Well, I suspect that what’s going to happen is that the system will be used to look for easy targets. Things that are neither criminal nor suspicious, but that pop up nevertheless, will suddenly be scrutinized because they’re there. It will be the surveillance equivalent of “If the mountain won’t come to Mohamed, then Mohamed must come to the mountain.” Since the NSA can’t focus its efforts on finding real criminals, it will engage in some flexible thinking and criminalize whatever activity it sees. And — voila! — it will therefore justify its bureaucratic existence and purpose. That the country will lose its identity and the people their freedom is a small price to pay for bureaucratic immortality.
A friend sent me an email which reminded me that I have been remiss insofar as I have not posted about Lt. Col Matthew Dooley. I’m reprinting the email here to make up for that omission:
Lt. Col Matthew Dooley, a West Point graduate and highly-decorated combat veteran, was an instructor at the Joint Forces Staff College at the National Defense University. He had 19 years of service and experience, and was considered one of the most highly qualified military instructors on Radical Islam & Terrorism.
He taught military students about the situations they would encounter, how to react, about Islamic culture, traditions, and explained the mindset of Islamic extremists. Passing down first hand knowledge and experience, and teaching courses that were suggested (and approved) by the Joint Forces Staff College. The course “Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism” ,which was suggested and approved by the Joint Forces Staff College, caught the attention of several Islamic Groups, and they wanted to make an example of him.
They collectively wrote a letter expressing their outrage, and the Pro-Islamic Obama Administration was all too happy to assist. The letter was passed to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff , Martin Dempsey. Dempsey publicly degraded and reprimanded Dooley, and Dooley received a negative Officer Evaluation Report almost immediately (which he had aced for the past 5 years). He was relieved of teaching duties, and his career has been red-flagged.
“He had a brilliant career ahead of him. Now, he has been flagged.” – Richard Thompson, Thomas More Law Center
“All US military Combatant Commands, Services, the National Guard Bureau, and Joint Chiefs are under Dempsey’s Muslim Brotherhood-dictated order to ensure that henceforth, no US military course will ever again teach truth about Islam that the jihadist enemy finds offensive ,or just too informative.” – Former CIA agent Claire M. Lopez (about Lt. Col Dooley)
The Obama Administration has demonstrated lightning speed to dismiss Military brass that does not conform to its agenda, and not surprisingly, nobody is speaking up for Lt. Col. Dooley.
IT’S A SAD DAY FOR THIS COUNTRY WHEN GOOD LOYAL MEN LIKE THIS GET THROWN UNDER THE BUS BECAUSE NOBODY HAS THE COURAGE TO STAND UP!
Share this if you would. Lets bring some attention to this.
Lt. Col. Dooley is the tip of the iceberg. Soon, as PC continues to pave the way for Sharia law, we will all be Lt. Col. Dooley.
With three exceptions, those members of the British public on the scene when jihadists murdered Lee Rigby and then beheaded him showed that they still had the capacity for horror, but that they had lost their ability for action. They tweeted, they photographed, they videotaped, they exclaimed, they emoted . . . and that was all.
The three exceptions were three women. Two were a mother-daughter team, deeply devout (I assume Christian, although the article doesn’t say), who believed that “no man should die alone,” and who therefore sat with Rigby’s poor, mutilated body:
Gemini Donnelly-Martin, 20, and her mother Amanda Donnelly, confronted the suspected killers and asked the attackers if they could be by Drummer Lee Rigby’s side.
Their refusal to be cowed by the terrorists won praise from all quarters, including Downing Street.
Amanda’s son Simeon, 22, said the two women acted out of love.
He said: ‘My mother was just driving past and she saw something and wanted to try and help. ‘She just showed a bit of motherly love. She just did what any mother would have done.
‘She felt that could have been me lying down there in the street. She just felt for the poor guy.
‘No man should have to die like that in the street with no-one around him.
Gemini said that they had simply done what they thought was right.
She told the Daily Mirror: ‘We did what anyone would do. We just wanted to take care of the man. It wasn’t brave. Anyone would have done it. It had to be done. They (the killers) said women could pass.’
‘The only thing people need to worry about is that poor man’s mum. We are grateful, though, for what people are saying about us.’
When it became apparent Drummer Lee Rigby was beyond their help, they shielded his body from further desecration by his savage attackers.
Amanda, 44, insisted she be allowed to pray for the dead man even when confronted by one of the killer. Kneeling at his side, she cradled him gently, seemingly unfazed by his horrific wounds.
Gemini said “we did what anyone would do.” But the fact is that, in today’s England, what anyone would do was . . . nothing.
The other person to act was Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, who went right up to one of the killers and just confronted him:
At the same time, Ingrid Loyau-Kennett remonstrated with the fanatics, despite her fears they would attack again.
The Cub Scout leader and mother of two asked them to hand over their bloodstained weapons and listened to their hate-filled tirade about wanting to ignite ‘war in London’.
She selflessly tried to draw the men’s attention, later saying: ‘Better me than a child.’
It’s deeply disturbing that London’s streets could muster so little action. These women’s bravery and compassion — behavior that would be exemplary in any circumstances — stands out especially clearly given the stark, frozen backdrop against which they acted.
In modern Western cultures, people are inundated with “feeling” phrases about fellowship and compassion and diversity and any other navel-gazing term you can say. But they are told — always — don’t act. Feel, but don’t do anything. You might get hurt. You might hurt someone. You might get sued. It might be a cultural misunderstanding. You might be viewed as an overbearing white imperialist, or a sexist, or a racist. Whatever you do, please be sure that your feelings are in accordance with all that is light and good under diversity and political correctness, but for Gaia’s sake, don’t just do something, stand there.
The elephant in the middle of the room that no one seems to want to look at is that there are people in this country, perhaps many people, who have been welcomed into this country, lived here for quite a while, embraced by Americans and treated kindly, who smile at you and seem perfectly normal, and who would happily kill you as an infidel. All of Dzhokhar’s college pals who shared joints, partied together, and played on sports teams together are shocked, and who can blame them, because he seemed so nice and normal and settled. What they don’t understand is that he only seemed nice. For quite awhile, inside he thought they were all infidels worthy of murder for the cause. It could have been all of them in the dorm or a classroom, smiles and pleasantries forgotten. He and his brother chose another more symbolic venue to declare their jihad and hatred of America and infidels, but he would have killed his dormmates, teammates or classmates just as happily.
That’s scary and unsettling. Who wants to think that people who smile and eat lunch with us may be putting on an elaborate act, that behind the smile lies a hatred deep enough to put a bomb next to a defenseless child and kill him, horribly maim dozens of others, then go back to school, refer to himself as a “stress free kind of guy” on twitter, hit the gym, and fool the dupes around him. This is the definition of evil. Evil exists when sane people follow an evil ideology, or when people are sociopathic and warped. Which are the Boston jihadists? They are both. They show a callous indifference to human life and no doubt a triumphal game of returning to the dorm or daily routine, easy as pie, F*&% America and its slutty women and unbelievers.
The Boston politically correct brigade will try to understand them and explain their deeds, as if planting a bomb next to kids in a crowd of people enjoying a race can be explained in any way by anything we did, as if anything—anything—can explain their decision to wage jihad at the Boston Marathon. The media and academia have become accustomed to blaming external factors for everything; school failure, criminal activity, gangs, violence. But other immigrant kids don’t do this. Not every kid who feels alienated does this. Hell, not even every kid who hates America does this. The deeds of Dzhokhar and Tamerlin Tsarnaev reflect their choices and their values. Their playing a “nice guy” role to their American friends and acquaintances reflects choices and values too. They weren’t teased or bullied. You kidding? A Golden Gloves boxer and a wrestling champ? More likely they were welcomed and treated decently by naïve people perhaps, but people far better than they, people that don’t live deceitful, fraudulent lives, plotting murder with a smile on their faces.
The question for us, knowing that there are others like the Boston jihadists living here and smiling at us, is what do we do? How do we stay open as a society and safe? If the majority of decent, law abiding Moslems are appalled by these actions, how do we get them to engage in protest and widespread condemnation of the acts, instead of defensive accusations that they might be picked on? How do we become a society that accepts personal responsibility again? How do we become a people who again can face that true evil exists in the ideology of the brothers and must be fought as hard and devotedly as we fought the true evil that existed in Nazi ideology.
I love Rogers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella. I grew up watching TV repeats of the
1695 1965 version, own the DVD of the original 1957 version (with Julie Andrews), and can even sort of tolerate Whitney Houston’s 1997 version. That show had very PC, rainbow-colored casting and — the worst sin — a bland Brandy in the lead role, but it nevertheless respected the source material.
There’s a new Cinderella on Broadway now, and it got a very interesting review from Ben Brantley at the New York Times. I actually had to read the review twice to make sure I wasn’t imagining it.
Brantley gives the production kudos of visual eye-candy (although it seems somewhat overdone) and speaks approvingly of the performers. The surprise is that Brantley speaks slightingly of the way in which Douglas Carter Beane, who wrote a new book for the show, and Mark Brokaw, the director, couldn’t resist turning this classic little gem into a politically correct parable:
But a lot has been added and deleted. (Extensive revisions, by the way, have been made in every version of this “Cinderella” that followed its inception.) Some lesser-known songs from the Rodgers & Hammerstein catalog have been jimmied in (including “Now Is the Time,” a rousing call for social change that was cut from “South Pacific”).
There’s been a whole lot of fiddling with the plot too to give it politically progressive substance and those mandatory messages about self-esteem and self-empowerment. The prince’s parents (played by Ginger Rogers and Walter Pidgeon in 1965) have been eliminated, replaced by a devious and manipulative regent figure, Sebastian (the droller-than-droll Peter Bartlett), who tricks the naïve prince, called Topher, into signing bills that repress and rob his people.
So when Cinderella finally gets the chance to talk to her dream date at that immortal ball, instead of whispering sweet nothings, she says, “You need to open your eyes to what’s happening in your kingdom.” (Maybe she should be renamed Che-erella.)
Like the reinvented cartoon fairy-tale heroines of the past several decades, from Disney’s “Little Mermaid” onward, this Cinderella is no passive damsel waiting for a rescuing knight. She takes charge of her destiny, so much so that she doesn’t lose that glass slipper; she hands it to the prince. It’s a conscious choice, see; she controls her narrative. And, by the way, the prince must undergo a similar process of re-education, which will allow him to conquer his self-doubts and introduce democracy to his kingdom.
Brantley acknowledges that this PC update has a bit of a knowing “wink and a nod” quality to it, but acknowledges that many in the audience seemed to miss the knowingly self-referential tone of the PC add-ons.
Cinderella is inherently a retro story, a sort of Patient Griselda for the modern era. When I was a child, I adored the story, the Disney movie, and, as I said, the TV show but, when I look back at them now, I do wonder if they encouraged in my a passivity that always had me assuming that, if I didn’t like my life, some prince would come and rescue me. Gail Carson Levine addressed that passive female problem rather nicely in her imaginative Ella Enchanted a delightful book that was turned into the extremely popular movie with Anne Hathaway. (The movie deviates wildly from the book, but I try to view it as a stand-alone product and enjoy the movie on those terms.)
I think we’re all inclined to sit back and enjoy variations on the Cinderella theme, and it’s okay when the new versions remind little girls that they no longer have to sit and wait. Taking a classic musical, however, written by two of Broadway’s greatest geniuses, and tacking on a whole bunch of extraneous PC stuff above and beyond a little Cinderella empowerment seems wrong, though — wrong enough, incidentally, to see a New York Times reviewer sneer at the artistic and entertainment merits of political correctness.