If this isn”t the most easily offended civilization in world history, I’m glad I missed whichever one was worse.
Still, our modern thought police”those prigs and fussbudgets and censors and tattletales and hall monitors and snitches and meddlers and natural-born teacher’s pets”insist that “political correctness” was a brief blip on America’s cultural radar that evaporated sometime in the mid-1990s.
As with everything else, they are wrong.
Whereas PC was still somewhat a fringe phenom in the 1990s, it has become the very fabric of our dying civilization. It is now so pervasive and dominant that it only seems invisible. It has metastasized into the popular narrative and continues expanding with no end in sight.
Never has so much bitterness and hostility been expended in the service of kindness and compassion. Oh, how I loathe the desiccated, humorless souls of the neo-tolerant, those whose endless capacity for getting offended has itself become offensive, who are morally outraged at the mere suggestion that they are absurdly prone to gross public displays of moral outrage. Hear them spout off about their dimly conceived and shabbily articulated notions of human rights, ones that conveniently always seem to trample on the rights of other humans.
One need not try to offend them. Even if you don’t try, they’ll get offended. Even if you make a conscious effort NOT to offend them, they’ll get offended. The very air they breathe offends them. They are offended by everything except their own existence. Look at them whining and whimpering and wailing, curled in a ball at the bottom of the shower, picking at their scabs and pretending to nurse self-inflicted wounds that they never intended to heal.
It almost makes the idea of committing hate crimes against them seem pleasurable, but not for any of the reasons they’d think”not their skin or gender or what they do with their genitals. No, it’s their personalities. It has always been their personalities and their personalities alone. In case I still need to spell it out for you, here’s the problem: T-H-E-I-R P-E-R-S-O-N-A-L-I-T-I-E-S.
A dozen years into the new millennium, our culture has advanced to the point where we are expected to celebrate Chaz Bono’s muttonchops and the fact that she sawed off her bazooms.
I”m sorry”did I say “advanced”? I meant to say “descended.”
The Old Weird has become the New Normal, and the Old Normal has become the New Hateful. The New Tolerance is actually the New Intolerance, espoused exclusively by the New Assholes.
They’re not offended that the world is falling apart. That bothers them not a whit. Instead, they shed crocodile tears while Rome burns.
Here are ten egregious examples of political correctness from 2012 which were by turns absurd, dangerous, or both.
SWEDEN DENIES THE EXISTENCE OF GENITALS
Sweden, that Ladies” Paradise where everything is rape, wishes to become a “gender-neutral“ society, which presumably means that all Swedes will be shorn of their genitals, preferably on live television. This insane cultural putsch involves everything from gender-neutral pronouns to gender-neutral bowling and gender-neutral schools where boys and girls are called “friends” rather than “boys” and “girls.” Even their toys are becoming gender-neutral. Give it twenty years and expect a monster wave of incredibly messed-up young Swedish adults.
OLYMPIC ATHLETES GET BANNED FOR THEIR GROSSLY INSENSITIVE TWEETS
The blonde and lithe Greek triple jumper Voula Papachristou was barred from triple-jumping at the London Games due to a “racist Tweet“ that to me seemed more insulting toward mosquitoes than Africans. Days later, Swiss soccer player Michel Morganella was banished from the Games after calling South Koreans a “bunch of mongoloids,” which was clearly intended to hurt the feelings of people from Mongolia.
Cooper, Artemis. Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure. London: John Murray, 2010.
On December 9th, 1933, an eighteen-year-old miscreant rushed through the rain at Tower Bridge to catch the Stadtholder Willem, about to hoist anchor and leave for Rotterdam. His luggage was light”a little money, a few letters of introduction, a knapsack, a sturdy pair of boots, an ash stick, some drawing materials, The Oxford Book of English Verse, and Horace’s Odes“all the more light because he did not intend to hang around in the Hook of Holland but to walk from there across Europe to the civilization-straddling metropolis that for him would always be Constantinople.
But deficiencies of kit or connection were amply compensated for by Patrick Leigh Fermor’s longing for picaresque adventure and a strong personality an exasperated former schoolteacher described as “a dangerous mixture of recklessness and sophistication.” He was also an instinctive antiquarian and amateur philologist”an unusual personality type, later summarized by one wondering journalist as “a blend of Indiana Jones, James Bond, and Graham Greene.”
His peregrination would take him through the intestines of a Europe on the verge of self-immolation into the most obscure corners of a continent where pre-feudal folkways had somehow persisted into the Art Deco era. He observed the lager-swollen, Lebensraum-thirsty stormtroopers spilling out of Munich’s HofbrÃ¤uhaus as a few years afterward they would spill over Germany’s frontiers. There were tanks on Vienna’s streets, and as he moved east he “became inoculated against Bolshevism.”
His wistful accounts of his walk would be suffused with sad awareness of what such manifestations of modernity meant for the Europe he had come to find. These classics of travel literature”A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water“were written decades later with the help of historical hindsight. They were the products of obsessive editing and some confabulation, but even the young Leigh Fermor could see that pre-modern Europe existed on borrowed time. Unlike his communist contemporary Laurie Lee, who poetically recorded the Gloucestershire and Spain he sought to turn into Soviets, Leigh Fermor traveled in the service of tradition, even taking part in a militarily insignificant but memorably evocative Greek Royalist cavalry charge.
He found old Europe just in time to write about its counter-temporal cultures in what Nicholas Shakespeare disdainfully terms “Manueline prose…overly crammed with truffles.” Yet Manueline style suits the subject in all its complexity and color, its crisscrossing connections and layers, lost landscapes, jealous identities, and ancient animosities. Leigh Fermor roots in a reverie amid history’s scattered fragments”giant catfish patrolling the untamed Danube, bears in the high woods, intoxicatingly empty seas of grass, shepherds in outlandish sheepskin overcoats with spiked-collared dogs to fend off wolves, churches still the centers of local cults, farmhands fervently reenacting pre-Christian rituals, eccentric polymaths with extensive libraries, relict ethnic groups left behind by long-retreated armies, crumbling cartouches, invalid flag-making, and sailors who played musical instruments that would have been recognizable to Odysseus. He mingled with representatives of all the nationalities he encountered, whether peasants or princesses, dining in cafÃ©s or caves, sleeping in haystacks or great houses according to the hazards of the highway, with the accepting flexibility of youth. Small wonder that his reminiscences should have met with favor among postwar Europeans, for whom Europe is no longer an epic, but a synonym for the barbarizing activities of Brussels’s bore-acrats.
As a child during the 1950s in the factory city of Bridgeport, CT, I constructed a social hierarchy that corresponded to where I thought the town’s ethnic groups belonged. I doubt that I arrived at these rankings on my own. More likely, I absorbed them from my parents or schoolmates. My distinctions were remarkably detailed and might strike younger readers as weird.
At the top of the pile were the WASPs. There seemed to be only a few of them in our city. They seemed as scarce as Native Americans, who didn”t thrive until the government gave Pequots the right to open casinos on their Connecticut tribal land.
The only white Protestants I knew back then were tony Episcopalians or long-faced Congregationalists. All these worthies, who my parents assured me had “always been around,” bore ancestral monikers adorned with the appropriate Roman numerals after their surnames. “We only have relatives”like our Uncle Mo”but these people have ancestors,” was how the situation was explained to me.
But this was not true of the entire breed, a fact that I didn”t learn until much later. If back then I had been told that some toothless ne”er-do-well who distilled moonshine in the Ozarks was a WASP, I never would have believed it. In my sixth-grade class a disheveled girl from the West Virginia mountains sat in front of me and kept uttering that unmentionable word “ain”t.” But I never suspected this creature was a Protestant. She was something called a “Baptist.”
Below WASPs in the rankings were German Jews, most of whose tribe had come to Bridgeport before or during World War II. They spoke to each other in their native tongue (which was interwar German) and usually owned moldering libraries that they rarely if ever dusted. These Ã©migrÃ©s (not refugees) were supposed to have been something-or-other in Europe before you-know-who came to power. What made them stand out for me was their association with high culture (AKA Hochkultur). During the winter season they went to concerts at the New Haven Symphony and subscribed to tickets at a highly touted playhouse in nearby Westport. It was said that big shots from Broadway occasionally wandered into this place, but not one of them did so during my single visit to this temple of German exile culture. A family of subscribers once took me there, but as soon as it was discovered that I was about to cast my first vote in a presidential election for a Republican, our social relation abruptly ended.
The horror at Newtown, Connecticut put a damper on the unending end-of-year parties. That includes my own Christmas blast at the Boom Boom Room in honor of Lindsay Lohan and some of the Big Bagel’s prettiest girls. At times I think I missed my vocation: Protector-Confessor of fallen women or those about to take the plunge. My only salvation lies in good old Helvetia, where the mother of my children will whip me back into shape in no time. No booze, no sex, just salads and mineral water. Ugh! Mind you, I’m not so sure about my marriage to Miss Lohan. Too many cops around her, and they make me nervous. My party began at 9PM and after eight hours it was still going. My bill was bigger than the Greek debt, and then some.
Ironically I had driven by Newtown a day before the massacre of innocent children on my way to Newport, Rhode Island to inspect a sailing boat up for sale that my father once owned. (The brave and extremely fast Nefertiti, built for the America’s Cup in 1962 by Ted Hood, back when racing boats were elegant and beautiful. Daddy never lost a race with her.)
One person dies every twenty minutes in America from gun wounds, and children in America are five times more likely to be murdered than in any other country of the industrialized world. What was a mother and housewife doing with five guns, especially with a weirdo of a son who probably spent his days watching violent video games and listening to rap music by people whose lyrics glamorize violence and glorify murder?
Yes, I’ve read all the stuff about guns, but no one is going to take them off the street—certainly not Obama, a man whose only talent lies in fooling all the people all of the time. Uncle Sam is the world’s greatest arms dealer, and the gun lobby is nearly as powerful as AIPAC. So whom are we kidding? Imagine if one of the slain teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School had a gun on her and had killed the scumbag nerd; perhaps she might have even gotten away with it. But we tend to criminalize the good and absolve the guilty.
Many American professional football and basketball players, a majority of them African Americans, own guns and have permits to carry them. There have been murders and accidents galore where famous athletes have been involved, but less than a handful have gone to jail. These are supposedly role models, so no wonder black tots get caught regularly bringing guns to school. Two weeks before the Newtown massacre, a black Kansas City Chiefs football star murdered the mother of his three-month-old daughter, then drove to a practice facility next to Arrowhead Stadium and killed himself in front of his coaches. Yet people tell me that America is the greatest country on Earth.
Imagine if Al Franken gave you a call and offered to fight you. A real fight, too”no gloves, no clock, and no rules.
Would you do it?
Rich Lowry, editor of National Review, would not. He explained it all in his sniveling and aptly titled piece “Why I Won’t Fight Al Franken.” Apparently in 2000 Franken was looking for a fight because Lowry had been publicly lamenting the way “liberals and feminists” were promoting “the feminization of America.” So Franken challenged him to put his money where his mouth was, and Lowry pussied out. It’s not that Lowry “feminized out””he “pussied out,” which is how people who aren’t pussies would describe it.
When all of this happened, Lowry was 32 while Franken was 49 and had a bad back. Only a few months earlier, Jonah Goldberg (Lowry’s colleague at NR) had written a piece called “A Continent Bleeds” in which he advocated an American invasion of Africa. A few years later, right after the invasion of Iraq, Lowry would imply that after Iraq should come Syria. Yes, there seems to be a disconnect here.
It brings to mind one of this site’s most popular pieces, Scott Locklin’s “Never Trust Anyone Who Hasn’t Been Punched in the Face.” But why bring up the nuances of a fight that didn’t happen over a decade ago? Because with the possibility of Chuck Hagel becoming Obama’s new Secretary of Defense, it’s more relevant than ever.
The neocon reaction to the potential pick and all it implies has been most revealing. Robert Wright at The Atlantic already covered Bill Kristol and The Weekly Standard‘s take on it in his masterful “Chuck Hagel and the Neocon Smear Machine,” so Rich Lowry (snubbed only in passing at VDARE) is in my sights. His writings on the matter are featured in two different places: National Review has “Against the Hagel Nomination” and Politico has “Why Mr. Hagel shouldn’t go back to Washington.” The texts are nearly identical, with curious differences. For example, in NR, Lowry writes that “Hagel woke up every morning and thought he saw the next Henry Kissinger.” The Politico version reads, “Chuck Hagel woke up every morning and thought he saw the next Hans Morgenthau.”
Lowry’s claims that Hagel is unqualified are baseless from the get-go. He writes that “A self-styled foreign policy realist, Hagel is out of the mainstream and terminally naive.” And why is this? Well, Hagel broke with the Bush Administration and began speaking ill of the Iraq War and neoconservatism. He even went so far as discuss the possibility of the president being impeached. All of this is documented in John B. Judis’s “Look Back in Anger” for The New Republic. The idea that those positions would somehow make him at odds with the mainstream is laughable. It is currently very mainstream to disdain Bush, the Iraq War, and neoconservatism. Just look at a few polls.
I admire the great French actor GÃ©rard Depardieu. Not only does he annoy the French left, he has now left France. In so doing, he has given me a great idea: to transform myself into a fiscal ghost.
My aim in 2013 is to vanish into thin air fiscally. It may turn out to be illegal, but it definitely will not be immoral. There is only so much tax a man can take. And no law, not even one supported by the majority, is necessarily just.
Depardieu has just moved from France to neighboring Belgium in part to avoid the consequences of the new French socialist government’s decision to impose a 75% tax rate on anyone earning more than one million euro a year.
It is the same counterproductive, growth-destructive story everywhere in the Eurozone: tax increases and new taxes not just for the rich like Depardieu who can move, but for the middle class who cannot. All for what? To keep alive the insatiable beast known as the state, which will kill us unless we kill it.
That an actor such as Depardieu, whose personality both on- and offscreen personifies La France Profonde, should quit the country is a heavy propaganda blow to the French left and President Francois Hollande. Film people, as America sadly knows, tend to love the left.
But when France’s socialist Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault nonchalantly dismissed Depardieu’s decision as “minable“ (pathetic), it made things worse”for the French left”because last Sunday Depardieu hit back in spades with a letter published in Le Journal du Dimanche. Addressed to the premier, few honest people anywhere could disagree with it:
I am leaving because you consider that success, creativity, talent, and in fact, just being different, must be punished.
Quel homme! What a fabulously succinct definition and critique of socialism! It even comes complete with its own inbuilt flipside, namely: Socialism only rewards unsuccessful, uncreative, untalented sheep. And he added for good measure: “I am handing in my passport.” So he intends not only to leave France but also to renounce his French citizenship. Zut alors!
Depardieu, 63, wrote that he has paid 145 million euro ($189 million) in taxes since he began work at age 15 without a single qualification to his name and that he has never claimed welfare money from the state:
We do not anymore share the same country, I am a true European, a citizen of the world….Who are you to judge me, indeed I ask you monsieur Ayrault, prime minister of monsieur Hollande, I ask you, who are you?
Nowadays the first step to take after a school shooting, far from mourning or otherwise feeling sorry for the families whose children were killed by a maniac, is calling for new and immediate restrictions on gun ownership.
The second step is insisting that there must be some external reason why this wonderful, loving 20-year-old would commit such an atrocious crime. He must have been driven to it by society’s unrealistic expectations, our culture of violence, or something else. Certainly it couldn”t be that Adam Lanza was the problem, that he fully understood what he was doing and didn”t care.
Many seem to believe otherwise, though. They act as if it’s our collective duty to find out exactly why everyone”with the exception of Adam Lanza”is responsible for the massacre so we may change our ways and become a model society of enlightened wimps. People and organizations are taking ridiculous lengths to ensure that they don”t offend anyone’s delicate sensibilities for the next few weeks.
Stories surfaced claiming that before Lanza stole his mother’s weaponry and shot her in the face several times, he unsuccessfully attempted to purchase his own rifle at Dick’s Sporting Goods. Store employees reportedly turned him away. This unconfirmed report was still enough to scare Dick’s executives into suspending the sale of modern sporting rifles nationwide as well as the sale of all guns at its store closest to Newtown.
Walmart also erased the Bushmaster AR-15, which Lanza used at the elementary school, from its website. (This didn”t stop the surge of gun sales, though; its remaining inventory was bought up in a matter of days.) And then the private-equity firm Cerberus decided to drop its ownership of the gun’s manufacturer, Freedom Group, citing the “national debate on gun control” as a catalyst. I hope the short-term appeasement of public opinion was worth the long-term financial losses Cerberus will incur from parting ways with the nation’s largest firearm manufacturer.
As if it wasn”t enough watching businessmen bend to the will of fools who wouldn”t have purchased their guns anyway, the spontaneously compassionate celebrities were next, apologizing every which way for the content of their entertainment. Radio stations stopped playing Ke$ha‘s song “Die Young,” as if Lanza had been dragged into committing violence by lyrics about “young hunks taking shots.” The singer Tweeted:
I’m so so so sorry for anyone who has been effected [sic] by this tragedy.and I understand why my song is now inappropriate. words cannot express.
For two millennia, the birth of Christ has been seen as the greatest event in world history. The moment Jesus was born in a stable in Bethlehem, God became man, and eternal salvation became possible.
This date has been the separation point of mankind’s time on earth, with B.C. designating the era before Christ, and A.D., anno domino, in the Year of the Lord, the years after. And how stands Christianity today?
“Christianity is in danger of being wiped out in its biblical heartlands,” says the British think tank Civitas.
In Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Ethiopia and Nigeria, Christians face persecution and pogroms. In Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, conversion is a capital offense. In a century, two-thirds of all the Christians have vanished from the Islamic world.
In China, Christianity is seen as a subversive ideology of the West to undermine the regime.
In Europe, a century ago, British and German soldiers came out of the trenches to meet in no-man’s land to sing Christmas carols and exchange gifts. It did not happen in 1915, or ever again.
In the century since, all the Western empires have vanished. All of their armies and navies have melted away. All have lost their Christian faith. All have seen their birthrates plummet. All their nations are aging, shrinking and dying, and all are witnessing invasions from formerly subject peoples and lands.
In America, too, the decline of Christianity proceeds.
While conservatives believe that culture determines politics, liberals understand politics can change culture.
The systematic purging of Christian teachings and symbols from our public schools and public square has produced a growing population—20 percent of the nation, 30 percent of the young—who answer “none” when asked about their religious beliefs and affiliations.
In the lead essay in the Book Review of Sunday’s New York Times, Paul Elie writes of our “post-Christian” fiction, where writers with “Christian convictions” like Walker Percy and Flannery O’Connor are a lost tribe.
“Where has the novel of belief gone?” he asks.
Americans understand why Mao’s atheist heirs who have lost their Marxist-Leninist faith and militants Islamists fear and detest the rival belief system of Christianity. But do they understand the animus that lies behind the assault on their faith here at home?
In a recent issue of New Oxford Review, Andrew Seddon (“The New Atheism: All the Rage”) describes a “Reason Rally” in Washington, D.C., a “coming out” event sponsored by atheist groups. Among the speakers was Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins, author of “The God Delusion,” who claims that “faith is an evil precisely because it requires no justification and brooks no argument.”
Christians have been infected by a “God virus,” says Dawkins. They are no longer rational beings. Atheists should treat them with derisory contempt. “Mock Them!” Dawkins shouted. “Ridicule them! In public!”
I blame the Burning Schoolhouse.
Canadians are perversely proud that our most popular backyard firework is unavailable in the United States. More like a science-fair volcano than a proper pyrotechnic, the homely Burning Schoolhouse merely spews a two-foot flame that lasts half a minute if you’re lucky.
But every May Two-Four for generations, Canadian kids have cherished those measly 30 sacred seconds, indulging in socially sanctioned fantasies of third-degree carnage.
You won’t hear this from Michael Moore, but modern school shootings are a Canadian invention, too, and I don’t just mean 1989’s “Montreal Massacre.” Despite the absence of a so-called “gun culture,” we spawned the first Adam Lanzas back in the mid-1970s, getting a twenty-plus-year head start on Columbine.
Don’t be fooled by those low body counts circa 1975. Look at the number of wounded, too. In both instances”unlike most American school shootings in the 1970s“those Canucks were would-be spree killers, targeting more than just a hated teacher or classmate.
I’m only kidding about blaming a tacky once-a-year firecracker display, but in the wake of Sandy Hook, would-be reformers are deadly serious. From the gun grabbers to those who want to lock up loonies, they’re all foolishly looking for a solution through the wrong end of the telescope.
It’s obvious that the way to end school shootings is to forget about the “shootings” part and focus on the first word instead.
We need to abolish schools.
A survey of popular culture indicates that attitudes about compulsory public education have drastically devolved. Children have always hated school, but the Our Gang kids only “played hooky” from class, they didn’t shoot it up. The “juvies” in Blackboard Jungle (1955) just smash up some classical-music records and manhandle a teacher (who probably liked it).
The sea change dates back to”you’ll never guess”1968, when Lindsay Anderson’s film …if climaxed with an armed student rebellion at an English public school.
A multitude of Tom Brown-turns-John Brown fiction pieces followed. “School’s been blown to pieces,” Alice Cooper growled triumphantly in 1972. Then came Massacre at Central High (1976), Rock ‘n’ Roll High School (1979), and the ingenious satire Heathers (1988). School in countless American films is depicted as a conformist concentration camp with a marching band.
Today, two multi-million-dollar entertainment franchises, Twilight and The Hunger Games, revolve around teens fighting each other to the death”but God forbid gun-phobic, video-game-banning suburban moms question their own reading habits, right?
No, I’m not blaming pop culture, either. Movies and music reflect the zeitgeist as much as they influence it; attempting to guess exactly when they do which is as easy as guessing which wire to snip when defusing a bomb.
Some trace our troubles to the outlawing of school prayer. I’ll grant those well-meaning folks points for getting their dates right, since those Supreme Court decisions came down in 1963 and 1964.
But prayer wasn’t the only thing swept aside, as Latin-literate older readers don’t need me to tell them.
Dear Santa Claus:
It’s been well over forty years since I wrote you a letter, but I don”t want you to think I”m an anti-Santite. It’s just that I”ve been busy.
You see me when I”m sleeping. You know when I”m awake. You know if I”ve been bad or good. To be frank, I can”t tell the difference between you and a stalker.
But if you can hand-deliver toys to all the world’s children in a single night with only a sleigh and eight tiny reindeer”one with a severe case of rosacea and whom I suspect may be an alcoholic”you are definitely more efficient than UPS or FedEx. I”m hoping that you might be able to squeeze in a miracle or two on my behalf. Since I never seem to get what I want for Christmas anyway, I figure I”d go straight back to the source.
You”re from the North Pole, right? At least here in the Northern Hemisphere”you know, the part of the world where people, uh, develop written languages and invent stuff”the days before Christmas are the darkest ones of the year. Even in daytime the cloudy skies are lit Suicide Grey, and whenever the temperature dips below 40, I”m screaming like a nun who’s seen a church mouse.
In short, this time of year puts a crimp in my normally bubbly, gregarious, and effervescent personality. But I”m not seeking any toys. I”ve compiled a wish list of things that would lighten my winter doldrums.
I wish that what I see with my very eyes was all an illusion.
I wish I was wrong about a lot of things. Too many things.
I wish I lived in a world where I could ask honest questions without being called anything besides “a person who asks honest questions.”
I wish I could find one honest person who disagrees with me and can stay on topic.
I wish that brainwashed people didn”t reserve a special hatred for those who aren’t.
I wish I lived in a world where people can examine my written statements for truth and falsehood rather than constantly searching for my motives, especially when they almost always get my motives wrong.
I wish that people would stop getting so offended and reclaim their sense of humor. If they never had a sense of humor in the first place, I wish that modern medicine would develop a way to inject them with it. If they refuse to accept the injection, I wish there was a way that jokes made at their expense would actually kill them.
I wish that it became possible for people to actually gag to death on their own smugness.
I wouldn”t mind seeing Bill Maher get accidentally shot by a rifleman on safari who mistook him for an aardvark.
I wouldn”t mind if Quentin Tarantino was beaten to a pulp by an angry black mob while he pleads in vain that he’s on their side and they derisively chant, “This ain”t no movie, BITCH!”
If Rahm Emanuel were to choke to death on a bagel tonight, he still wouldn”t get a Christmas card from me.
If Ed Schultz were to die from a hemorrhoid explosion, I still wouldn’t watch his TV show.
I wish you could convince me that people everywhere aren”t getting as dumb as toadstools.
I wish that the world’s mean IQ was three standard percentiles higher.
I wish that schools would focus on educating rather than indoctrinating.
I wish we had an educational system where kids are taught math and logic rather than emotions and hysteria.
I wish that government schools were good at teaching kids something beyond the false notion that government is good.