Bank of America was trying to be woke, but its poster looks an awful lot like cultural appropriation — with an entire Asian child getting appropriated.
Although academia has been seeding American Leftism for 70 years, Trump, despite his many foibles, is the weapon that will destroy that system.
This is going to be a slightly more discursive post than usual, simply because I’m trying to tie together three disparate thoughts. Thought One is how we got here, by which I really mean how the Left got where it is and managed to completely cow conservatives, especially those ostensible conservatives elected to Congress. Thought Two is to remind you to read a stellar post telling Trump how to handle Mueller. And Thought Three is another stellar post explaining precisely why Trump’s support is unwavering, no matter the hue and cry from the Left.
How we got here
We got here because of academia. When Marxism first hit America, it hit at the worker and union level. In America, at least, the workers of the world really were trying to unite. Unfortunately for their initial success, their unity took forms that were antithetical to most Americans.
To begin with, many of the workers were foreign, highlighting the fact that Marxism too was foreign. To Americans who still read the Constitution, Marxism was scarily alien. It’s values were too unlike ours and they resisted it strenuously.
Another problem with early Marxism in America was that many of its early supporters openly espoused violence, which most Americans found frightening. Back in pre-WWII America, nobody on the Marxist side of the equation had the wits to come up with something called Marxophobia and then to try to make Americans feel guilty about it. Americans felt no guilt when they feared the violence and totalitarianism that Marxism promised.
Lastly, Marxists back in the day insisted on talking like Marxists, with all sorts of ridiculous words and phrases such as “dialectic” and “come the Revolution,” and an insistence on talking about the “proletariat” and the “bourgeoisie.” It was, quite simply, off-putting.
What the Marxists figured out during WWII, thanks in no small part to the Left’s huge push to bring America to the aid of the Soviet Union once Hitler invaded Russia, was that, while Americans were not amenable to hard Marxism, they could be totally swayed by soft Marxism. This idea landed hardest and best in America’s colleges and universities. There, mild-mannered professors in rumpled, tweedy suits carefully indoctrinated their students in a whole new way of thinking about America’s liberties.
Mostly, these academics inculcated in their middle-class students a sense of guilt about America’s bounty — never mind that the bounty resulted from hard work and innovation. To the Leftists, America’s wealth, no matter that it was earned, not inherited, was evil, and young people had to pay for their countries’ sins. Moreover, when students protested against this indoctrination (and yes, back in the day, some did), the same Marxists hid behind the Constitution’s protections.
This was a brilliant strategy. If you’ve got the college students, you’ve got the next generation of elementary and high school teachers, and the next generation of news people, and the next generation of screenwriters, and the next generation of women’s magazine writers, and the next generation of college professors. And with each iteration, with each generation that passes through, you can dig in the message harder and deeper, until you end up with the insanity of intersectionality, cultural appropriation, safe spaces, triggers, political correctness, and all the other tropes that work as vehicles for intellectual tyranny.
If you read Helen MacInnes, who wrote during the height of the Cold War, you see everything already spelled out in her books. She had the number of that first generation of indoctrinators. This is most apparent in one of her lesser known books, Neither Five Nor Three, which she published in 1951. [Read more…]
Black Progressives who decry cultural appropriation might want to remember that a white woman’s empathetic rendering of slavery helped spark the Civil War.
The Los Angeles Review of Books published an anguished rumination from Arthur Krystal (a white, Jewish guy), wondering if cultural appropriation ever has merit or if it is always an original racist sin. The genesis for this guilty meditation was the fact that he had written a screenplay about a most fascinating man: Tom Molineaux, a freed American slave who showed up in Regency England, a time and a place in which men were obsessed with boxing, and then proceeded (literally) to knock the socks off the British boxers. (As an aside, Molineux’s rise followed that of England’s other great boxer — Daniel Mendoza, a Jew.)
Because Molineaux’s story is fascinating in its own right, and because Krystal has worked the story up into a six-part British historic drama, he did get a big agency to shop it around. Unfortunately, there’s a problem:
Nothing unusual about this, but this time something new had been added to the mix. As one well-known producer put it, the fact that neither the director nor the writer is black is “a huge red flag.” People in the industry, he said, are going to be wary of green-lighting the project.
Yes, it’s true, I am engaged in “cultural appropriation,” which, according to some moral custodians, makes it both unseemly and illegitimate for a Caucasian, however well-meaning, to depict a person of color. I, quite literally, don’t have the bloodlines to portray Tom Molineaux, at least not in a creative or fictional format.
From this starting point, Krystal works his way through Lionel Shriver’s brave challenge to the censorship that cultural appropriation places on creative people, only to land upon, and spend most of his essay with, William Styron’s Confessions of Nat Turner, which James Baldwin (a black man) encouraged him to write. Even back in the 1960s, Styron, who was white, caught flack from the Left for writing a story about blacks, but the broader culture was more forgiving.
Ultimately, despite his manifest (and, I think, wrong-headed) sympathy for the cultural appropriation movement, Krystal concludes that there’s nothing wrong with an author delving into his imagination and our common humanity to write a convincing and sympathetic portrait of another’s experience. I think the guts of it are in these three paragraphs: [Read more…]
Teen Vogue turns against Israel with a gauzy, one-sided view of Palestinians. This sewage-like flow of Leftist ideology traces back to American academia.
For those naive enough to think that Teen Vogue is a fashion magazine, please disabuse yourself of that notion as quickly as possible. It is, in fact, a hard Left propaganda vehicle that slips into people’s homes under the guise of fashion. It came into my house, for example, when my daughter got a free subscription automatically delivered to her after ordering clothes from an online site that caters to teenagers.
I’ve documented several times that the magazine’s primary purpose is to sell Leftism on every subject under the sun including, but not limited to, campus rape, Woodie Guthrie-esque communism; the entire spectrum of the LGBT social and political push against traditional Western value’, misanthropic “feminism”; and abortion. (You can see these earlier posts here, here, and here.) I was going to say of Teen Vogue that “any resemblance to an actual fashion magazine is pure coincidental,” but that’s not true. Teen Vogue’s deliberately takes on the protective coloring of a fashion magazine, but don’t be fooled: its purpose is Leftist indoctrination, pure and simple.
Just a couple of weeks ago, the magazine amped up the Leftist propaganda by advocating for the Palestinians without any recognition of Israel’s historic and legal rights to the land, or the virtue of her conduct:
[Teen Vogue’s] February 27 piece entitled “The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: What You Need to Know” suggests that shift also entails publishing factually shoddy commentary.
Despite the ambitious title and long length, the one-sided account omits many things that teens trying to learn about current events ought to know and instead reads like a fact sheet from the Palestinian side of the issue.
Author Emma Sarran Webster has no apparent knowledge or background on the complex issues involved, billing herself as an expert on health and beauty with a “deep love for social media and cat videos.” She relies heavily in the article on a single “expert,” University of Wisconsin professor Nadav Shelef. Shelef’s writing, which has been praised by far-left professors, focuses heavily on settlements, and as a result, Webster’s article also focuses overwhelmingly on “controversial” settlements as the central issue. This, while completely ignoring
Palestinian incitement and incentivizing of violence, as well as Palestinian intransigence. In fact, Webster includes an entire four-paragraph section subtitled, “What are settlements, and why are they so controversial?”
Yet, there is no section on Palestinian cash payments to convicted terrorists or to the families of terrorists who were killed, and there is no section that discusses the glorification of violence in the Palestinian government and society.
The article also omits discussion of historical Jewish ties to Israel and, unconscionably, the repeated Palestinian rejection of extensive Israeli peace offers. Where was the section on Arafat and Abbas walking away from the creation of a Palestinian state?
In addition, the article contains several misrepresentations: it references “Palestinians” who lived a century ago, and says that in 1948 Arab nations “began fighting on behalf of Palestine.” It misrepresents UN Resolution 242 and the Fourth Geneva Convention, and fails to put UN statements in the context of that body’s well-documented bias.
CAMERA is polite in its comments and imputes the myriad omissions and errors to ignorance. I would not be so polite. I’ve been following the magazine long enough to understand that it is selling the current Progressive point of view, which is a long way from the centrism people remember from the pre-1990s Democrat party.
One of the hallmarks of the new Democrat party — a party that used to be part of America’s overall support for beleaguered Israel, a liberal democracy surrounded by genocidal tyrannies — is its hostility to Israel. You need look no further than the race for DNC chair, when Keith Ellison, a long-time purveyor of antisemitic canards and a friend of famed antisemites, came within a hairbreadth of winning.
I’m about to get on my particular monomania train here, so feel free to turn away from the article about now. My monomania is about American colleges and universities. It’s easy for conservatives (including friends of Israel) to point to the media and Hollywood as the culture infecting America’s traditional commitment to liberty at home and abroad. That’s not where the problem started, though, and that’s not where the canker of Leftism is most strong. All of America’s problems are tied to its colleges.
Even #NeverTrumpers have to concede that Trump is the one who looked down upon the culture wars, built a barricade, and loudly stood atop it hollering “Stop!” at the top of his lungs. With Trump in the White House, political correctness and all its attendant evils might no longer be issues. So as you prepare to watch the debate, or as you think about the debate after having already watched it, let me just remind you of the craziness that is the American culture warin the Age of Obama.
A word of caution — as is true for the audience filing into the debate at Hofsta, let me warn you that there are triggering ideas here. They might make anyone who reads this post stop and think how terribly the Left has injured America’s moral backbone and common sense.
Damn women. There’s been a big to-do about the change in culture that sees people desperate to be in selfies with famous people. The ne plus ultra of this trend is a marvelous photo of Hillary standing alone on a box at the back of a room, with the rest of the room facing away from Hillary, arms extended in the air, with each person trying to get a selfie that includes Hillary. You can see the picture here, along with a great caption contest.
Perhaps because one of my Little Bookworms selfies, I’ve become immune to the selfie trend. That is, I don’t like it, but it doesn’t surprise me.
I wanted you to note something different about the picture: all those navel-gazing selfie takers, desperate to project themselves into their favorite candidate’s world, are women. It’s the damn college educated women who are propping up Hillary’s campaign. Speaking as a woman myself, perhaps it would have been better if the 19th Amendment had never passed. First Harding and now Hillary. How dumb can women be?
Conservatives need to throw themselves in the culture war. The Kaepernick capers reminded me of something rather sad about conservatives: we like fussing about things on Facebook, and we’ll boycott things that don’t really matter (forget Target; let’s go to WalMart), but we will not make an effort where it inconveniences us or ruins one of our pleasures. I’m guilty myself, in that I shop at Costco, which is owned by a rabid Hillary supporter. Shopping at Costco makes my life easier (and cheaper) and I’ve been unwilling to forego that.
John Hawkins points out that other conservatives, if they’re disturbed by the disrespect for our flag and our national anthem at sporting events need to stop going and stop watching:
CONSERVATIVES are why these overgrown jackasses can continue to be unpatriotic. That’s because you’re the people who are offended by their behavior, but you won’t do anything about it. That’s the same reason conservatives have lost the schools, Hollywood, the mainstream media and it’s why the NFL is turning into a bigger, even dumber version of the Daily Kos. If liberals are going to reward you for trashing America and conservatives aren’t going to punish you for it, a certain percentage of people are going to take advantage of that. That’s just the way of the world and as we see again and again and again, it’s a slippery slope. Today it’s the NFL; tomorrow it’ll be the NBA and MLB. Next thing you know, the NFL will be making kids listen to a lecture from Al Gore before they start the NFL Punt, Pass & Kick program while the adults will be forced to watch anti-gun lectures at half time. Why wouldn’t they do that if liberals will swoon over them in the press and conservatives will keep giving them money?
He’s got a point. Maybe it’s time to cross Costco off my list. (I can’t cross much else off, because I’ve pretty much removed myself from pop culture and I like my affordable generic products.
At most blogs, Saturday can be a bit slow. Not so for the new Watcher’s Council site — WOW! Magazine — where the group dynamics of Watcher’s Council members and their friends means that there’s always something new and interesting to read:
- [AUDIO] A dramatic reading of a rebuttal to Lionel Shriver’s plea to end “cultural appropriation” totalitarianism
- Feel Good Story Of The Week, September 11-17, 2016
- Donald Trump has broken Dan Rather
- The College Rip Off
- The Social and Behavioral Sciences Team (SBST), and why it should scare you
- Have you heard the one about Venezuelans descending into the Marxist Abyss?
- The Chevy Bolt: Takin’ It To The Next Level?
A new thing called cultural appropriation is suddenly in the news lately. Just yesterday, designer Marc Jacobs was in the news because the Social Justice Warriors were appalled that his runway models — mostly white — wore fake, multi-colored dreadlocks. (SJW’s have a real problem with white people wearing dreads.) That they said, speaking in English, which is probably not a “heritage tongue” for many of them, was impermissible cultural appropriation. To his credit, Jacobs had a great bitchy comeback and refused to apologize. Jacobs is not the only cultural icon pushing back against the totalitarian impulse behind the SJW’s attacks on so-called “cultural appropriation.”
Lionel Shriver, a well-known American novelist, got invited to give the keynote speech at the Brisbane [Australia] Writer’s Festival. Her speech was entitled “Fiction and Identity Politics.” However, she had a surprise for an audience expecting her to tell them that the only person who can write about American Blacks is an American Black, the only person who can write about gay men is a gay man, etc. Instead, she launched a polite and comprehensive attack against the stifling effect on fiction when an author stands accused of cultural appropriation. For those of us who value free speech, and who fear the totalitarian instincts behind the social justice warrior’s attacks on free speech through the vehicle of identity politics, it was a call to arms:
I hate to disappoint you folks, but unless we stretch the topic to breaking point this address will not be about “community and belonging.” In fact, you have to hand it to this festival’s organisers: inviting a renowned iconoclast to speak about “community and belonging” is like expecting a great white shark to balance a beach ball on its nose.
The topic I had submitted instead was “fiction and identity politics,” which may sound on its face equally dreary.
But I’m afraid the bramble of thorny issues that cluster around “identity politics” has got all too interesting, particularly for people pursuing the occupation I share with many gathered in this hall: fiction writing. Taken to their logical conclusion, ideologies recently come into vogue challenge our right to write fiction at all. Meanwhile, the kind of fiction we are “allowed” to write is in danger of becoming so hedged, so circumscribed, so tippy-toe, that we’d indeed be better off not writing the anodyne drivel to begin with.
A good start to a speech, right? It got better from there. Shriver’s factual starting point was an incident at Bowdoin College, a small, prestigious liberal arts college way up in Maine (annual tuition around $45,000). Bowdoin’s grammatically creative “purpose” statement promises that it offers incoming students an “intellectual challenge and personal growth in the context of an active and engaged learning community closely linked to the social and natural worlds”:
A liberal education cultivates the mind and the imagination; encourages seeking after truth, meaning, and beauty; awakens an appreciation of past traditions and present challenges; fosters joy in learning and sharing that learning with others; supports taking the intellectual risks required to explore the unknown, test new ideas and enter into constructive debate; and builds the foundation for making principled judgments. It hones the capacity for critical and open intellectual inquiry – the interest in asking questions, challenging assumptions, seeking answers, and reaching conclusions supported by logic and evidence. A liberal education rests fundamentally on the free exchange of ideas – on conversation and questioning – that thrives in classrooms, lecture halls, laboratories, studios, dining halls, playing fields, and dormitory rooms.Ultimately, a liberal education promotes independent thinking, individual action,and social responsibility. (Emphasis mine.)
Think of this self-praise when you think of the incident Shriver talks about: Two well-respected Bowdoin students threw a tequila party for a friend and, in keeping with the theme, gave guests little miniature sombreros:
No wonder 1984 is no longer required reading in high schools. One of the Little Bookworms, after a summer of sloth, decided to read something noteworthy before returning to school. Her choice was George Orwell’s 1984, which I would include in any top 25 or even top 10 reading list.
Despite how wonderful 1984 is, both in terms of style and content, my Little Bookworm managed to pass all the way through a very highly rated public school without any exposure to Orwell at all — no 1984, no Animal Farm, no The Road to Wigan Pier, and no Politics and the English Language. George Orwell is persona non grata in our local high school.
My Little Bookworm did give me some insight into why public schools are loath to teach one of the greatest writers and thinkers in the English language. When we asked what her takeaway was from the book, she had this to say: “That whole Thought Police thing Orwell wrote about — it’s just like Political Correctness. There are no clear rules, but you have to think correctly or you get into trouble.”
Islam, the rapey religion. Not all Muslim men are rapists. Indeed, most Muslim men are not rapists. But when we look at the vast increase in rapes in countries such as Sweden or Denmark, or when we see sexual assaults across Germany, or when five-year-olds are raped by a group older boys here in America, it’s not a coincidence that a disproportionate number of these rapists and assaulters were raised in the Muslim tradition. As Robert Spencer explains, rape is hardwired in Islam.
Once multiculturalism started losing its kick, cultural appropriation became the latest version of the Left’s endless assault on free speech, freedom of association, and free thought. It’s also part of the Left’s ongoing effort to Balkanize and destroy America. Bill Whittle treats it with the contempt it deserves:
As this election year’s craziness continues, I keep trying to keep myself from getting upset. My mantra is that I should save my energies for things I can change, either directly or through my own small contributions. For everything else, I need to relax and watch the passing spectacle. That’s what this post is all about.
Socialism’s shortages kill people. One of the hallmarks of socialism is shortages, with Venezuela being the latest example. Canada has socialized medicine. (They also have cheap drugs, but that’s because American companies invest in R&D, costs they recoup by passing on to American drug purchasers, while the Canadian government helps supplement drug costs.) That’s why a teenager in Canada who could have had a stem cell transplant died — the donor was available, but the hospital beds weren’t.
Unemployment is a core feature of a centralized economy. The theory behind a centralized (i.e., government managed) economy is that everyone works and everyone benefits. The reality is that the more the government manages the economy through taxes and rewards to cronies, the more it stifles individual initiative — and the result is unemployment. With the Obama economy staggering into its eighth year, one can’t really blame millennials, who have never seen a functioning free market, for thinking that the best they’ll ever get is more government hand-outs, courtesy of Bernie.
The media is trying to ignore Ted Cruz to death, but he’s still the strongest conservative candidate. The media willingly gave Donald Trump free advertising by covering him endlessly. It wasn’t just that he was “so clever” that he played them. They wanted to be played because they believe that, outside of his core 35%, he’s unelectable.
Ted Cruz, on the other hand, is scary. After all, Rush anointed him the closest thing we’ll see to Reagan in our era. Since savaging Cruz hasn’t been working, the media is trying a new tactic: ignoring him. That is, they are deliberately denying the American people a chance to hear from a top-ranking presidential candidate. Gawd, but our media is corrupt.
Still, Ted Cruz plays the long game, and Fox News Latino thinks he’s still got game. Philip Klein also thinks that New Hampshire is anomalous, since it’s kind of like Europe in that even its conservatives are Leftists. Look at the rest of conservative America, and Cruz is still the last conservative candidate standing.
The horrible thing about Leftism . . . okay, let me rephrase that: One of the many horrible things about Leftism is that it trains its adherents to look at the world through dirt-colored glasses. Everything that is good and beautiful and charming is perceived as dark, depressing, and awful. No wonder the Progressives on my Facebook page are so big on “You are wonderful” affirmations. They need those periodic reminders to offset some of the illogical hate that fills their minds.
I have here two examples of the dirt-colored glasses Progressives have to wear in order to maintain their Leftist bona fides. The first one is a horribly shot amateur video, with tinny music, that is still well worth watching. A large dance troupe performs the national dance of Ukraine — the Hopak. It is a tour de force:
(If the video doesn’t load, you can view it here.)
When I watched the video, I was impressed and amazed. It’s beautiful and exciting and strong. But that’s not how Lefties see it. Here’s a line from the comments section that, to me, is destined to be a Leftist classic: “What they’re doing is impressive, but isn’t that focus on the men’s dancing really just a reminder of the patriarchy?”