The Week’s Most Imperious, Unserious, and Deleterious Headlines
BALTIMORE SETS A HOMICIDE RECORD IN 2017
It is becoming increasingly evident that the Black Lives Matter movement may be responsible for more black deaths than anything since, well, black people themselves.
In 2014, when Ferguson, MO burned for months due to rioting based on a fraudulent “Hands up, don’t shoot” narrative, the city’s annual violent-crime rate was 291.6 per 100,000 residents. At the time, its police chief was a white man named Tom Jackson. Two years later, after Eric Holder’s feds did a witch hunt that ended with vague insinuations of systemic racial bias against blacks in the Ferguson Police Department, and after Ferguson swapped out their white police chief for a black one, and after police had basically been terrorized into avoiding all possible interactions with blacks for fear of being labeled racist or even killed, Ferguson’s violent-crime rate had shot up 173% compared to 2014—even accounting for all the rioting in 2014. Black Lives Matter critic Heather Mac Donald dubbed this the “Ferguson Effect”—in American cities that experienced substantial anti-police rioting over the past few years, there has been a strong tendency for violent crime rates to skyrocket. And these crime rates disproportionately affect black victims. So in effect, the end result of Black Lives Matter was to cheapen the value of black lives.
In 2015, the death of a black man named Freddie Gray in the back of a police van led to Baltimore being nearly burned to the ground. The city’s black female mayor infamously told police to stand down and allow rioters “space…to destroy.” The per-capita murder rate in Baltimore that year—again, which includes all the rioting—was 33.8 per 100,000. This year Baltimore will set a per-capita homicide record of 55.8 killings per 100,000 people. As this is being written, there are still two days left in the year, so there may be a few more homicides in Charm City before “Auld Lang Syne” is sung. There were more total murders in Baltimore this year than in all of New York City, which has 13 times as many residents.
In other cities such as St. Louis, Dallas, Charlotte, and Milwaukee—all of which were host to “significant civil unrest that erupted following the killing of black men by police officers,” black-on-black crime has exploded rather than abated thanks to Black Lives Matter’s tireless efforts.
After morbidly obese Staten Island street cigarette peddler Eric Garner died when he resisted arrest in 2014 and somehow found enough breath to say “I can’t breathe” 11 times, there was no significant rioting in New York City, but Garner became a BLM icon along with Michael Brown and other Men of Color of Dubious Honor. Although the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office said his death resulted from “compression of neck (choke hold), compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police,” they also listed the fact that he was 350 pounds, had asthma, and heart disease were all contributing factors in his death.
In other words, if he didn’t resist arrest and wasn’t in extremely poor health, he never would have died.
Buttressing our contention is the fact that last week, his 27-year-old daughter Erica Garner died as a result of a heart attack. She was widely lauded as an “activist,” and many similarly minded “activists” blamed the NYPD for her death. Few of the eulogies mentioned that her family received a $4-million payout as a result of her father’s death, which is likely far more than her dad ever would have made peddling loose smokes on street corners near the Staten Island Ferry.
Ya win some, ya lose some.
ROLLING STONE PUBLISHER ACCUSED OF RAPING A DUDE
We wrote last month about Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner being accused of forcing his dry, “serpent-like tongue” down freelance writer Ben Ryan’s mouth in 2005 and “demanding sex…in exchange for a lucrative contract.”
Now another male writer is accusing Wenner of raping him back in February 1983. Jonathan Wells says that after a long night of drinking vodka and doing cocaine with Wenner at his Manhattan home, the publisher ordered a female prostitute for them. After she left, while both men were “mostly naked,” he says Wenner made his move:
I was lying back and he put himself on top of me. He was kissing me, but you know, normal stuff, kissing my chest. I remember him putting his penis in my mouth. I remember him sucking me, going down on me. I remember his hair on my stomach.
Everyone with two brain cells to rub together knows that if someone puts their penis in your mouth against your will, the sane and sensible thing to do is bite it off. But Wells said he subsequently returned over the next few weeks for two more consensual sexual encounters with Wenner.
Although Wells denies being a faygeleh, we sincerely hope dozens more men—gay or straight, what does it matter?—come forth and accuse Jann Wenner of raping them.
“WHITE GENOCIDE” PROFESSOR RESIGNS IN A TORRENT OF SELF-PITY
Late in 2016, Drexel University professor George Ciccariello-Maher Tweeted:
All I want for Christmas is White Genocide
He’d also written things such as “Abolish the White Race” and about how “Racist Crackers” should be sent to gulags.
The good professor is white. Of course.
Last week on Facebook, he announced that he is resigning:
After December 31st, 2017, I will no longer work at Drexel University. This is not a decision I take lightly; however, after nearly a year of harassment by right-wing, white supremacist media outlets and internet mobs, after death threats and threats of violence directed against me and my family, my situation has become unsustainable….This is why the Right is targeting campuses with thinly veiled provocations disguised as free speech….In the past year, the forces of resurgent white supremacy have tasted blood and are howling for more.
Howling for blood? Excuse us, but aren’t you the fellow who called for the extermination of over a billion people?
Paris is by far the best city in the world for cinema. At least, it is the best city known to me; perhaps Irkutsk or Conakry are better, though I rather doubt it. You could see two or three interesting films a day in Paris for the rest of your life, if you had the time and energy (in fact, I once tried the experiment for a week, and it worked).
By interesting films, I mean, naturally enough, the type of films that interest me. To judge by the size of the audience that attends them, however, not many people share my interests. Such films, from places like Albania or Guinea-Bissau that one does not normally associate with filmmaking, are often screened for a single showing in one of the myriad small cinemas of the city, at 11 or even 9 o’clock in the morning. You have to be both retired and enthusiastic to catch them.
Anywhere else, people who go to the cinema at 11 o’clock in the morning are the homeless who manage to sneak in via the fire exit, or other strange people. In Paris, they are intellectuals who discourse learnedly not so much on films, as on film, which is something else entirely. Films are to film as butterflies are to lepidoptery.
In England years ago I would sometimes go to an art cinema where a large proportion of the audience (always tiny) seemed to be composed of escapees from institutions for the criminally insane. Once when I was writing a series of articles about strange resorts of entertainment, I went there with my wife to see a film called Necrophilia. At least one could not have accused the title of misleading the public as to the subject matter of the film. It had been made in Canada with a subvention from the Canadian government, which was no doubt doing its bit to remove the burdensome stigma under which necrophiliacs (who, after all, harm no one) live. And this was before the country became known far and wide for its promotion of political correctness.
We were the only persons in the cinema until a middle-aged man in a dirty raincoat—I apologize if I am stereotyping, but reality is reality—came in and, though the rest of the cinema was of course empty, chose a seat right next to ours. When the title of the film scrolled up, he exhaled a sigh: Ahhhh, necrophilia! My wife lasted about three minutes of the film, I lasted five. One can watch only very little sex carried out in a morgue.
One of the great advantages of small cinemas showing obscure films is that you don’t have to sit beforehand through the advertisements or trailers for other films. I find this a very unpleasant experience. Many of the trailers are for such spectacularly fast-moving and unrestrained violence that I avert my eyes, but in their own way the advertisements are just as bad. They are either of elephantine facetiousness or of such sophisticated knowingness that by the end of them I have sometimes not fully grasped what it is that they are trying to sell.
Are people influenced by such advertisements? Do they, as a result of watching them, go out and buy Dior perfume or Lacoste sports shirts? If they do, this surely rather undermines the case for universal suffrage. Can collective wisdom grow from individual idiocy?
Of course, there are those who argue that advertisements do not so much induce people to buy things that they neither need nor want as influence them to buy the particular brand of what they do need or want in preference to any other brand. On this view, demand is a zero-sum game; so that the purpose of the advertisement for Lacoste sports shirts, say, is not to induce anyone who wants or needs no sports shirt to buy a sports shirt, but to induce those who want or need to buy a sports shirt to buy a Lacoste sports shirt. But even if this were the case (and our whole economy depends upon it not being the case), it is not a very flattering view of mass psychology.
Although religious in origin, New Year’s resolutions call believer and unbeliever alike to be honest with themselves concerning the value and character of how they spent the past year. As everybody knows, we all fail consistently enough to satisfy our own standards of conduct that the annual custom of resolving to live better always finds ample material for its pangs of guilt, resolutions, and promises. In further reflection of human frailty, people are notorious for listing the ways in which they will improve themselves, only to have done with the half-hearted attempts after just a little while.
Nevertheless, it shouldn’t be overlooked or forgotten that the very existence of New Year’s resolutions attests to the natural dignity of man: the only animal, after all, who desires to make itself accountable to itself, and who therefore is pained by the endeavor’s failure. Those who feel proud as they succeed in changing themselves for the better may feel ennobled to reflect that they are engaging in an activity that is essential to greatness and without which it would not be possible; for a life, however admirable and noteworthy, always consists of a myriad of decisions that must be regularly examined by the reflective mind and conscience in order for greatness to be achieved. Nor is there any life worth living in which one does not subject oneself to a demanding sort of inquiry: Is this what I want from myself? If not, what should I do or stop doing instead?
Today, the problem for many people who want to live well is that the American left is awash with the illusions and obsessions of identity politics. Constantly propagated by the media, Hollywood, and the universities, these bad ideas are meant to permanently degrade us, for we are supposed to be perpetually sorry for things that are beyond our control and with which we have had nothing to do: race, gender, and the events of history. Thus, for the left, 2017 was a year of incessant punishment, including of one’s own self. Indeed, it is not going too far, perhaps, to believe that the left has become downright masochistic, because it seems to require and to be sustained by the perverse habit of condemning American history and preferring anything to what is in the nation’s best interest.
Since this practice is as unproductive as it is ignoble, it would be good for leftists to adopt the following New Year’s resolutions. Each concerns a subject on which leftists have long dwelt unnecessarily and indeed foolishly. Moving on from them would not only be wise; it would also make our national discourse a lot less wearisome.
Stop Believing America Is a Nation of White Supremacists
When Columbia professor Mark Lilla argued that his fellow liberals had gone astray in identity politics, he was predictably denounced as an apologist for racism. In a representative reaction, Katherine Franke, his colleague at Columbia, accused him of “Making White Supremacy Respectable. Again” and likened him to former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. Of course, it is trivially true that identity politics does not unite but rather divides. Franke, however, is a touchy ideologue, so on her interpretation (an ironic example that Lilla is right), to tell people that they should get over their respective resentments in order to find some common ground on which to move forward is nothing but an excuse for the status quo—which depends, of course, on belief in white supremacy. In reality, both Asians and Jews are more successful than whites, and furthermore, white people throughout this country are going out of their way to get women and minorities into elite colleges and “underrepresented” fields. The notion of white supremacy not only obscures this generosity (which is hardly the norm in the world); it serves as a vulgar rationale for mediocrity and ineptitude. Didn’t get the job you want? Must be owing to white supremacy! Ah, why bother in the first place?
Leftists like Franke should resolve to give up this paranoid thinking about whiteness. Besides being false, it corrupts the minds of the young—the worst thing any university teacher can do.
Stop Wanting to Purify American History
Whether it was renaming Civil War monuments or college buildings, this year the left’s anguish about American history became more extreme than ever. What an absurd waste of time! Although we inherit history, we are not responsible for the evils that occurred before we got here. Leftist academics and intellectuals, by wanting to revise all history to suit their own idea of “purity,” do not evince the moral sophistication on which they pride themselves deep down. On the contrary, they merely show that they are too weak for existence itself. Any symbol or reminder of “inequality,” or of slavery, or of genocide, or of whatever might cause one some sort of pain, must be purged from memory. But this anxious affair, even if successful, would not alter the fundamental character of life itself, which is necessarily competitive. For the left, the great scandal, at bottom, is simply life itself: No one can win, since that requires that some shall lose, and to lose is painful, that is, “wrong.”
The leftist would benefit from replacing this unmanly sentimentalism with the recognition that virtually all modern nations are founded on conquest, nor is the existence of slavery unique to America. History, and life itself, may not be agreeable to one’s feelings, but there is wisdom in accepting natural limits, though none at all in the delusional project of making the world “pure.”
NEW YORK—“Men of good will” is an expression you don’t hear much anymore. It’s used mostly by the courts, especially when the topic is contract law, because when two guys sign an agreement, they’re expected to be frank and open about their intentions.
But during the Christmas season, “good will” gets trotted out in many forms, most famously in the Linus speech in the 1965 animated classic A Charlie Brown Christmas.
For those of you who haven’t re-watched it lately, the speech is motivated by the complete humiliation of Charlie Brown as he tries to put on a Christmas pageant (symbolized by the most pathetic Christmas tree ever harvested or displayed).
Defeated by the project, Charlie Brown says, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?”
Linus van Pelt—the most insecure child in the neighborhood, and the only one who doesn’t laugh at Charlie Brown for his failure—replies, “Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about.”
He then walks to the center of the stage and says, “Lights, please?”
And does a verbatim recitation of Luke 2:8–11 in the King James version:
And there were in the same country shepherds, abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them. And they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, “Fear not!”
On the words “Fear not,” Linus drops his security blanket—obviously the moment when he loses all fear—and then, as though transformed into a prophet, completes the passage.
“For, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a savior, which is Christ, the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the Heavenly Host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, and good will toward men.”
Linus then picks up the security blanket and walks back over to Charlie Brown.
“That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”
The Catholics consider this scene a heresy.
Granted, the Catholics consider many things heresies, but this particular one is caused by a centuries-long dispute about a single letter in the text. Angels singing about God’s good will toward all men is, they say, a misreading of the last line. It should read instead, “Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace and good will to those He favors.”
Indicating that God is offering his peace message only to those who are deserving of it.
Leave it to the Catholics to throw cold water on Linus.
Of course, we Scots-Irish Protestants much prefer the Linus/King James version, if only because it’s more ecumenical and would presumably include an invitation to Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and atheists along with those Christians who have fallen away from the faith. Protestants are all about invitations to join in. The birth of Jesus is, according to Linus, a cosmic event that has no denomination.
I have to admit, grudgingly, that the Catholics have history on their side. The phrase that translates into “good will toward men” in the original Greek is anthropois eudokia, but in the five oldest manuscripts of the book of Luke, eudokia does not appear. The second word is spelled eudokias, and that “s” changes the meaning entirely. The first time the “s” was dropped was around 170 AD in one of those “harmonies” attempting to combine all four Gospels into one book, and the author of that book, called the Diatessaron, was a guy named Tatian who was not considered very reliable, so he may have simply omitted the “s” by mistake. At any rate, the meaning “men in whom God is well pleased” became “all men,” and then it became even more confusing over the succeeding centuries when we started to attach “good will” (eudokia) to the characters of those who are considered benevolent, kindly, peaceful…godly. We changed something God was offering to man into something men could offer to one another.
Perhaps the most famous use of the phrase came in 1956, in a speech by Martin Luther King Jr.—a Protestant preacher named after the original Protestant—about the Supreme Court’s ruling in Brown v. Board of Education.
“To all men of good will,” said King, “this decision came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of human captivity.”
But, of course, by limiting the shared joy to “men of good will,” King implied there were men of bad will, men who would not respect Brown v. Board of Education, many of them Christian, many of whom thought the promised land was segregated.
And now the men of bad will have returned. We have just finished a year of second agendas, vengeance-seeking, shouting, accusing, careless harm of others, and returning evil for good. The public arena has been full of lying and vindictive rulemaking. Elected officials and spiritual leaders alike have sought the letter of the law so they could avoid its spirit. You have to go back to times of major wars to find so many who have divided the nation, or the world, into Us and Them.
My recommendation for this sorry state of affairs: Let’s look again at the second chapter of Luke and try to figure out how to access that good will—assuming Luke was not proffering fake news.
The reason I frame it that way is because Luke was the closest thing to a journalist we have among the New Testament writers. He made it clear that his Gospel was based on “a careful investigation.” He was a physician who never met Jesus, but was an assistant to Paul and obviously had the sort of detailed mind that would seek out every fact and try to set it down as accurately as possible. As a result, the Gospel of Luke and his second work, called the Acts of the Apostles, are full of historical and political context that you find nowhere else. Anyone who has ever dipped into the murky world of New Testament exegesis knows that all the documents are messy, incomplete, and full of long silences, but the fact that they’ve held up over the centuries is in large part thanks to Luke, who anchored many of the narratives against secular events:
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
The new Steven Spielberg historical drama The Post is a celebration of how Democrats turn lemons into lemonade via their control of the media.
A prequel to the 1976 Watergate movie All the President’s Men, the new movie recounts how the Democratic Washington Post used an embarrassing 1971 Democratic scandal—Daniel Ellsberg’s leaking of the Pentagon Papers, the LBJ administration’s secret history of its own incompetence and insincerity in Vietnam—to take its first tentative steps toward eventually teaming up with the Deep State (in the person of J. Edgar Hoover loyalist Mark “Deep Throat” Felt) to overthrow the elected Republican president three years later.
Spielberg rushed The Post into production just last spring for the usual anti-Trump reasons. After the media’s eight-year-long sabbatical/siesta during the Obama White House, it’s good to see some energy and animus against a president, even if it tends to be wildly hypocritical.
Of course, Spielberg is not exactly the most self-aware ironist, so The Post, an earnest celebration of how Big Media supports “the people’s right to know,” doesn’t quite get its own joke about how convenient it was for the Democratic press’ uneasy conscience over how little it had criticized JFK and LBJ to be salved by a press putsch against the Republican in the White House.
Despite the hurry, Spielberg is such an extraordinarily competent filmmaker that most aspects of the film turn out fine, other than 85-year-old John Williams’ sappy score.
The Post is even better than Spielberg’s not-at-all-bad 2015 film Bridge of Spies, with which it shares a color palette: dark gray with splashes of bruised-looking colors. Lenses are chosen for some reason to make supporting actors look slightly grotesque in the manner of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man comic-book movies and of Chester Gould’s Dick Tracy comic strip. As New York Times editor Abe Rosenthal, for example, Michael Stuhlbarg is made up to resemble a younger Al Lewis as Grandpa Munster.
Still, despite Spielberg’s late-career turn toward the visually grotesque, The Post is a well-made historical drama, like its predecessor Argo, Ben Affleck’s 2012 effort to spiff up the Democratic brand by making a movie out of a rare Carter-administration success. With better acting than Argo, especially from Meryl Streep as Washington Post heiress Katharine Graham, The Post will appeal to grown-up audiences partial to the Democrats.
Mrs. Graham, an expert at garnering sympathy, portrayed herself as a timid, awkward widow, despite usually winding up getting exactly what she wanted out of life. (For example, in the later 1970s, Mrs. Graham conducted a semi-public affair with the 13-years-younger Warren Buffett that helped cause that giga-tycoon’s wife to move out.) Streep has a blast playing Graham playing at being the ugly duckling who somehow contrives to always be the center of concern for Washington alpha males.
Tom Hanks does a decent job as Graham’s swashbuckling Boston Brahman editor Ben Bradlee (although he’s not as memorable as Jason Robards’ Oscar-winning version of Bradlee in All the President’s Men). Bradlee was descended from Crowninshields and Choates on his father’s side and from European aristocracy on his mother’s.
Bradlee served Mrs. Graham as a sort of new, improved version of her late husband, Phil Graham, the manic-depressive executive editor of The Post who killed himself in 1963 a few months before his friend President Kennedy’s assassination. (Phil Graham had been instrumental in persuading JFK to make LBJ his vice president, and his widow remained a strong supporter of Johnson.)
Phil Graham, older half brother of Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL), had been a key figure in “Operation Mockingbird,” the CIA’s project for co-opting prestigious liberal American journalists to trumpet the CIA’s talking points. This campaign was begun by Phil’s close friend, CIA ops boss Frank Wisner (another manic-depressive, who killed himself two years after Graham did), and was run by Cord Meyer, Bradlee’s brother-in-law. (Cord Meyer was apparently not related to Eugene Meyer, Mrs. Graham’s father, the German-Jewish chairman of the Federal Reserve, although this milieu is so incestuous that it’s natural to wonder.)
The Washington Post had sycophantically supported the Democratic JFK and LBJ administrations, including their policies of escalation in Vietnam.
After Phil’s suicide, the Post’s owner, social lioness Katharine Graham, was a close friend of Kennedy and Johnson’s Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara. The movie is hazy on whether McNamara (played by Bruce Greenwood) and Mrs. Graham were sleeping together.
Bradlee’s second wife, Antoinette Pinchot, had been Jackie Kennedy’s close friend, so Ben became JFK’s buddy in 1958.
Bradlee was a key figure in the giant media cover-up of President Kennedy’s sexual predation upon the White House secretarial pool. Bradlee wrote, sounding rather like Sergeant Schultz on Hogan’s Heroes, that he knew nothing: “Like everyone else, we had heard reports of presidential infidelity, but we were always able to say we knew of no evidence, none.”
Similarly, The Post’s star Streep responded last week to starlet Rose McGowan’s accusations that Streep must have known about Harvey Weinstein’s depredations:
I wasn’t deliberately silent. I didn’t know. I don’t tacitly approve of rape. I didn’t know. I don’t like young women being assaulted. I didn’t know this was happening.
After all, who is more autistically unaware of human subtleties than Meryl Streep? Who could expect the most Oscar-nominated movie actress to notice that the most effective Oscar-baiting mogul was abusing less skilled actresses?
Spielberg portrays Nixon as a malevolent, Grinch-like figure infesting the White House illegitimately. Yet by the standards of 2017, Nixon was a polite gentleman around the ladies, while LBJ was a pig, as was JFK (although admittedly a handsome one).
And it’s not like the Democrats took a tough stand upon the public’s need to know about Secretary of State Clinton’s 33,000 emails. Nor did the Obama administration take a live-and-let-live policy toward Julian Assange.
Likewise, The Post celebrates Bradlee’s championing of “the people’s right to know” when a Republican was in the White House, but fails to mention his perjury in the trial of the man accused of murdering his sister-in-law Mary Pinchot Meyer in 1964, the ex-wife of CIA propagandist Cord Meyer.
Upon hearing news of her murder, Bradlee raced to Mrs. Meyer’s residence to break in and find her diary (which presumably documented her affair with JFK). To his surprise, Bradlee discovered that the CIA’s legendary head of counterintelligence James Jesus Angleton had picked the lock ahead of him and was ransacking the place. Bradlee explained that he ultimately burned her diary because he’d “concluded this was in no sense a public document, despite the braying of the knee jerks about some public right to know.”
Mrs. Meyer’s murder remains officially unsolved.
In 1979, Mrs. Graham and Bradlee teamed up to get the publisher of an unauthorized biography entitled Katharine the Great to withdraw the book from circulation.
Now, you might think that this maelstrom of sex, secrets, and death swirling around The Washington Post’s glamorous central figures would make a lively soap-opera-ish film. But the Eagle Scout Spielberg is uninterested in their sex lives and instead wants to portray them as Mr. Smith Goes to Washington idealists.
Understanding today’s political trends has become a challenging undertaking. Invoking Freudian psychology will strike some as not the most promising method. But Howard Schwartz has written a book of considerable importance and depth, where he endeavors—convincingly and without psychobabble—to explain the roots of “political correctness” in terms of how we connect at a young age with our respective parents and what happens when this development is altered, arrested, distorted, and manipulated in various ways.
It must be acknowledged at the start that psychoanalyzing one’s political opponents and attributing their beliefs to psychological disorders can become a nasty little game with some unwholesome consequences that certainly should not be encouraged. The psychiatric prisons of the Soviet Union are the most notorious example, though in recent years Western family courts have experimented with similar methods to control and punish citizens whose refusal to cooperate with government action they consider immoral requires coerced remedial therapy and officially mandated “education.”
But this is not at all where Schwartz is going. Politicizing psychology to serve the needs of official ideology and rationalize institutional power is different from examining the phenomenon of ideology itself through the prism of psychoanalysis. To understand ideological rebellion through childhood and adolescent rebellion, and through the surrounding context of family and sexuality, might have required extensive argumentation a few years ago. Now that these matters have themselves become the central subject matter and substance of political ideology and political contention, their connection with the theories of psychoanalysis acquires a new plausibility. As issues like the family, fatherhood, parental authority, and relations between the sexes become politicized, the psychoanalytic approach that seeks explanations for rebellion in early childhood opens myriad possibilities.
At his own most plausible, after all, Freud wrote less as an analyst than as a political theorist, which is why even his critics consider his most enduring essay to be Totem and Taboo, a work Schwartz compares to Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan and quotes extensively.
In fact, Schwartz has done something quite remarkable. Though he himself does not describe his own purposes in this way, he has turned the tables on those who would politicize psychotherapy. What he offers, in effect, is a psychoanalytic explanation for political ideology itself. He himself adopts the more colloquial term “political correctness,” perhaps in an effort to popularize his argument, but the point is the same.
Schwartz argues that in the healthy “Oedipal model,” the child gains unconditional love from the mother during the early years, but acquires an ambivalent relationship with the father, whom he both fears and wants to eliminate as a rival for the mother’s love. The mother’s love for the father allows the child to overcome his fear and hatred for the father and instead imitate the father by breaking out of the maternal cocoon and gaining the love of a woman by striving for accomplishment.
The twist we see today is what happens if the mother hates the father. Then the child follows her lead and likewise develops an attitude of “contempt, hatred, and resentment.” “Father has not gained mother’s love by his accomplishments; they cannot be worth anything. He must have gained his presence with her through the commission of fraud and violence.” So the child seeks to retreat from the masculine world of striving and accomplishment into the feminine world of “primary narcissism.” According to Schwartz, “the attack upon the father in the name of the omnipotent, primordial mother is the core of political correctness.” The father replaces unconditional love and acceptance with rules and limits and is therefore the archetypal oppressor. Liberation is defined by his destruction and rebellion against his rules. “Political correctness is a bid for hegemony in the name of this primitive mother, expelling the father and undermining the paternal function.” Further:
Getting rid of him will realize the ego ideal. We will be free of the demands and expectations placed upon us by our mutual acceptance of objective self-consciousness. We will not be subordinate to any roles, rules, or obligations, but will be able to do what we want, act on our whim, in perfect safety, to the accompaniment of mother’s love.
Schwartz calls this “the dynamic of political correctness.” Another way of saying it is that it is the dynamic driving modern political ideology. It might well describe a variety of modern revolts, from Jacobinism, to the more virulent forms of nationalism, to Marxism, to various eclectic anti-colonial ideologies:
What the father claims as objective self-consciousness is only the expression of his own subjectivity. The accomplishments the father has wrought through the construction and renewal of objective self-consciousness, and through his transformation of the world created and defined in this way, are redefined as without value; they are just ways in which he justified his theft and through which he justified his claim to her love.
The father stole mother’s love from all of us children, but most massively from those who have been specifically deprived of her love through what are seen as the modalities of oppression. It is therefore righteous to hate him for his theft and to love those who have been oppressed, in compensation.
In contrast to the Christian concept of original sin and absence of any merit on our own parts, “The premise of anti-Oedipal psychology is that we begin with everything, and if there is anything that we do not have it is because someone took it away from us.” Gratitude is thus displaced by resentment, the emotion that feeds all violent political ideologies.
Schwartz himself applies this to a number of recent trends and controversies, such as the current hysteria over “bullying” and the British riots of 2011. His examples most often involve racial politics.
Ironically, the one ideology to which he does not apply it explicitly is the currently rampant sexual ideology. (In fact, this omission is understandable, since he does so in an earlier book, The Revolt of the Primitive.) Yet this clearly is the most appropriate of all. Indeed, if Schwartz is correct, today’s sexual ideology might indeed be seen as the logical culmination of all its predecessors.
In addition to Schwartz’s own applications of the theory, the argument explains many trends that increasingly dominate the front pages, especially those that have marked the gradual unfolding of the “politics of sex”:
(1) First, it explains why the absence of a father constitutes the strongest predictor of almost all social pathologies (usually petty rebellions) in the young today: violent crime, substance abuse, truancy, and out-of-wedlock births themselves. Fatherlessness, not race and not poverty, leads to dysfunctional and destructive behavior in adolescents.
(2) It also explains the almost irrational defense of sole mother custody in the divorce courts—along with the vilification of fathers—that creates the condition and cycle of fatherlessness in the first place.
(3) It predicts the highly irrational and intense hatred of the father in the children of divorce, where Schwartz’s scenario is played out most starkly, where the child holds the father responsible for the destruction of his home and everything else, even when the matter is entirely beyond the father’s control.
In times of war, neutrality is rarely rewarded. And if you’re a citizen of a country smack in the middle of a war, it can often be dangerous. A little-known fact about World War II is that, in the nations occupied by Germany, especially (but not solely) in the East, the anti-Nazi partisans, “the resistance,” could be every bit as brutal to the local citizenry as the Nazis. Because the role of someone who is resisting occupation is to make life as difficult for the occupiers as possible. And the best way to do that is to keep the locals from being pacified. If the locals get comfortable, the occupying army has a much easier time of it, but since, if given the choice, most people prefer to be comfortable, the locals frequently need to be forced to resist. This often requires severe bullying tactics…or worse. In an excellent 2011 thesis for Georgia Southern University, history professor Lynda Lamarre (at the time a student at GSU) described how the partisans in and around Tuscany in 1943 and ’44 so badly abused and enraged the locals that even to this day, many Tuscans see them as terrorists, not heroes. But in creating unrest, the partisans accomplished exactly what they had set out to do. It has been argued that the partisans literally “brought the war to Tuscany,” as the Germans, enraged by the constant acts of sabotage, theft, and harassment, rained terror down on the locals, thus forcing them to resist more, as the occupation became more and more unbearable.
Guerilla warfare offered the only way for Iraq’s tiny, poorly armed military to resist the US. The Baath Party planned to provoke US occupation forces into mistreating the population. It worked…. In Iraq, we are the bad guys. What about the “terrorists” who bombed the UN headquarters and Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad, who sabotage oil and water pipelines, who use rifles and rocket-propelled grenades and remote-controlled mines to kill our soldiers? Aren’t these “killers” evil, “killing people who just want to help,” as another AP writer puts it? In short: no.
Of the everyday Iraqis who were just trying to feed their families by applying for jobs that had opened up after the occupation, Rall flatly states that “they are collaborators. Traitors.” When they would get killed by “the resistance,” “they had it coming.”
Rall may be an extremist, but his points are not fully invalid. Yes, that is how a good resistance works. Bring violence to the segment of the population comprising people who are “just trying to get along.” They must feel pain, they must suffer loss. If you even so much as smile at an occupier, or accept a candy bar or a bottle of water, you are complicit, you are deserving of death, and that lesson has to be taught over and over and over again until the entire population is forced to resist.
At the close of German occupation in France and in the early days of liberation, the French murdered an estimated 10,000 suspected collaborators (some estimates put it closer to 40,000). There can be no sentimentalism toward your own people; the resistance needs to be able to be brutal to its own.
And now, as we approach 2018, a surprisingly large number of American nutjobs have managed to convince themselves that we are currently under Nazi occupation. Nazi Trump and his Nazi advisers treasonously stole an election with help from Russia, and now we’re literally being occupied by the Fourth Reich and its Russian allies. These nutjobs, many of whom are in the media, have decided to dub themselves “the Resistance.” And they scare the shit out of me, because, like their namesakes in actual occupied countries, they have no mercy for the population at large.
I firmly believe that the Kate Steinle verdict was an act of resistance. I’ve heard law professors—good ones—argue that the jury isn’t to blame for the verdict, that it was due to “overzealous prosecutors” or “prosecutorial overreach.” But I don’t buy that for a minute. Steinle unwittingly “collaborated” by getting shot by an illegal immigrant, thus giving Trump a major new weapon in his anti-illegal-immigration arsenal, and Steinle’s family “collaborated” by being more concerned about their daughter’s murder than about defeating Trump! The verdict was punishment. One thing I have yet to hear any law professor point out is that the verdict is internally contradictory. If the jury members acquitted Jose Garcia Zarate of murder because they truly believed he was just sitting on a bench minding his own business when he saw a mysterious package, reached for it, and ay yi yi! it just went off in his hands so he tossed it away, if they really believed that’s what happened, then they could not have convicted him of being a felon in possession of a firearm (which they did). Under California law, to convict someone of that crime, there must be some level of intent. Intent to use, intent to purchase, intent to keep. Just one of those things is enough. A felon who just finds a mysterious package without knowing what’s inside, and opens the package, revealing it’s a gun, has not—at that point—satisfied the standards of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Not at that point. Now, what he does with the gun changes everything. That jury knew that gun didn’t “just go off,” or else it wouldn’t have convicted on possession. This was an act of resistance, punishing innocent people because they “collaborated” with (or didn’t try hard enough to stop) a “Nazi.”
Speaking of “Nazis,” one of the worst atrocities committed by the Resistance this year has been the merciless war against the Papa John’s pizza chain. At the beginning of November, John Schnatter, the founder and CEO of Papa John’s (which is the official pizza chain of the NFL), told his shareholders that he was concerned about the possibility that the NFL’s ongoing and messy “anthem crisis” was hurting sales. Schnatter’s exact words were:
The NFL has been a long and valued partner over the years, but we are certainly disappointed that NFL and its leadership did not resolve the ongoing situation to the satisfaction of all parties.
“Resistance” members claimed Schnatter was “taking Trump’s side” in the anthem debate, and that his comments were “racist” and “divisive” (seriously, I can’t recall seeing a statement about the anthem issue less racist and divisive than Schnatter’s). So not only Schnatter himself but his entire company had to be damaged, to make an example of them for the rest of us.
The Week’s Most Boorish, Whorish, and Moorish Headlines
If farts had a face, they would look like Cenk Uygur.
The aging Turk’s name is pronounced “Chenk Yoogur,” but if you’re the type whose memory is aided by mnemonic devices, think of him as “Chunky Booger.”
Apart from being fat and oily, Cenk is the bulldozing blowhard who hosts the aggro-left video channel The Young Turks, which has over three million subscribers and about four billion total views. Cenk is so proud of his ethnic identity as a Turk, he named his show after the perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide.
But if you’re white and don’t have a problem with your ethnic identity, the roving, belching buffalo known as Cenk Uygur has a problem with you.
A delightful recent trend involves watching progressive standard-bearers publicly shamed and often destroyed by more fanatical aspiring progressive standard-bearers who hold their targets’ feet to the fire regarding decades-old writings from back when they were straining with all their souls to be woman-slaying alpha edgelords. Former expat frat-bros Mark Ames and Matt Taibbi have recently been fed through the woodchipper over passages from a 2000 book that explicitly claimed to be nonfictional but that they are now insisting was pure fantasy.
Now the same is happening to the walking bag of flatulence that is Cenk Uygur. And he’s blaming it all on the fact that he was a Republican back then but in the interim has successfully transitioned away from being evil.
Now 47 and as chubby as a warthog, Uygur was a 29-year-old Republican when he lamented that he wasn’t getting laid enough in Miami:
The only problem is that after seeing these girls every day and not being able to have sex with them, after awhile, you begin to lose your mind.it seems like there is a sea of tits here, and I am drinking in tiny droplets. I want to dive into the whole god damn ocean….Obviously, the genes of women are flawed. They are poorly designed creatures who do not want to have sex nearly as often as needed for the human race to get along peaceably and fruitfully.
Obviously, he never considered that perhaps it’s people who look like farts whose genes are flawed and that women are endowed with a natural repulsion toward men who resemble malodorous digestive functions.
In a blog post that was archived in 2003 but may have been written earlier, Uygur boasts of groping “countless breasts” while hammered on Jack Daniels and of pressing his slimy eel lips on at least 23 women at the Mardi Gras:
I had one of the best nights of my life at Mardi Gras. I kissed over 23 different women, saw and felt countless breasts, and was in a wonderful drunken stupor thanks to my friend John Daniels.
In a 2004 post from the now-defunct YoungTurk.com, David Koller—cofounder of The Young Turks and now the company’s senior vice president of operations—writes about stopping for gas with Cenk in a “small Pennsylvania town:
Turns out they were three teenage girls, whores in training…these three little spoiled brat bitch young American girls on their way to becoming abused porn actresses or dispensable property in a New York City prostitution ring….They were around 14-16 and in a few more years will be pretty damn good looking, but not great.…I asked (I think before Cenk came) if these girls had ever had sex.
Like so many male-feminist creepy-crawly Bernie Bros before him, Cenk is now backpedaling somethin’ fierce. He claims that the road trip with Koller happened but that no underage girls were harassed. He insists that Koller’s piece was “over-the-top satire” and that his own comments were made back when he was an entirely “different guy”:
The stuff I wrote back then was really insensitive and ignorant. If you read that today, what I wrote 18 years ago, and you’re offended by it, you’re 100 percent right. And anyone who is subjected to that material, I apologize to. And I deeply regret having written that stuff when I was a different guy….I had not yet matured and I was still a conservative who thought that stuff was politically incorrect and edgy. When you read it now, it looks really, honestly, ugly. And it’s very uncomfortable to read.
As far as what “looks really, honestly, ugly,” we’ve already established that it is Cenk Uygur’s super-ugg mug. But what looks beautiful is the sight of rival progressives who are trying to out-prog him by clubbing him over the head with things he wrote when the culture was far less matriarchal. They’re trying to eat him alive, and there’s plenty to eat.
WHITE GUYS AND THEIR DARNED WHITENESS
What the heck is the deal with guy guys being, you know, all evil and everything?
Jim Corbett (right, pictured with co-author Tim Jones) is a painfully passive-looking white guy who has released a coloring book called “I Am So Sick of White Guys.” Corbett grew up in 90%-white Yorktown, NY but now lives in Seattle, which is 70% white and thus far more bursting at the seams with vibrancy and herpes. Corbett says he will donate 10% of the book’s profits to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has made a lucrative career out of being sick of white guys.
Upset at grossly disproportionate white ownership of Hollywood, actor Christian Bale yearns and strains and craves for “the day that we stop saying, ‘Hey, it’s all white dudes who are running things.’” We suggest that, as a white man in Hollywood, it is incumbent upon Bale to expedite the process and retire immediately.
Two white alleged academics at the University of Northern Iowa claim—which is in a town that is 93% white—in a recent paper that urging “civility” in classrooms is merely a pretense for the more sinister motive of creating “a good white identity” and enforcing “white racial power.”
As always, they’re aiming 180 degrees in the wrong direction. There is definitely something wrong with white people these days, but these types of suicidal enthomasochists aren’t fighting the problem; they embody it.
In other news, a 24-year-old black gang member in Cleveland allegedly walked up to a 51-year-old white woman, knocked her to the ground with one punch, and based on zero evidence accused the woman and her son of being white supremacists and Klan members, at which point a crowd of gathering blacks allegedly began threatening the mother and son, who fled in horror. Jermaine Hines, Jr. has been arrested and is being charged with ethnic intimidation.
Oh, and the EU Commissioner for Migration has vowed to leave no part of Europe “homogeneous and migration-free.”
Here we go, it’s that time of year again! Yippee! And get your wallets out. Scrooges are no longer tolerated during Christmas, although once upon a time people were so fed up with the annual Christmas shakedown that in 1491, London biggies ruled that Christmas solicitations would be banned. Servants, apprentices, tradesmen, and churchmen had all become professional supplicants, and were not best pleased by the ukase. But as someone once said, it is better to give than to receive, so there. We now give to doormen, barbers, hairdressers, garage attendants, lift operators, building supers, postmen, tiny rich children with hands outstretched, you name it, they expect it. And let us not forget professional beggars in front of expensive stores. I once had one of them throw the dollar I gave him back in my face. I pocketed it and thanked him and he called me a f—-ing cheapskate. What the hell, I’ve been called worse names.
There is no more Christmassy city than New York, and no more Christmassy village than Gstaad, where I’m spending the holiest of days. The fact that there are 9 million Shylocks in New York and 4,000 of them in Gstaad is immaterial. Christmas puts everyone in a good mood except for bearded types in sandy crappy places. I think having been sent away at a very young age to boarding school has a lot to do with the warm and pleasant feeling of anticipation that hits me when Christmastime comes around. It meant getting away from rules and regulations and boundaries and seeing up close what was awaiting me once free. (Old dad had girlfriends galore and some very spirited friends with girlfriends.)
Even movies about Christmas are wonderful. Is there a better one than the delightful Christmas in Connecticut, shot of course in sweaty Los Angeles, starring the divine Barbara Stanwyck? There is a baby involved, a handsome naval officer, a powerful publisher (Sidney Greenstreet), and a beautiful wooden Connecticut farmhouse covered in snow. It begins in busy New York City, where everyone is hectically trying to finish up before the holiday. Then it moves to one of the most beautiful states in the union—except that it votes Democrat—and then there’s total confusion. It’s my favorite film about Christmas, that and Miracle on 34th Street.
The old cliché is that Christmas is for small children, but I don’t agree. I get more excited about Christmas than my children do—mind you they are now grown up, although I only allow pictures of them around the house that were taken when they were tiny. When the children were tiny, Christmas gave me the opportunity to get drunk in front of them, because their Kaiser mother was always whispering in my ear that children who witness drunk parents end up drunks themselves. An old wives’ tale if I’ve ever heard one. Presents, of course, also help. During my first ten Christmases there were hardly any because we were at war and were later occupied by the German army. During the civil war that ensued, old dad managed to bring me a beautiful watch while crossing the Communist lines to deliver it. I don’t know how many fathers would do that, and those Commies were really bad, mean and bloodthirsty as hell. Never mind, I think of him a lot, especially at Christmas, 28 years on.
An old custom in Greece was to give cakes and other goodies to cops, who used to direct traffic in their shiny silver helmets while perched in circular posts. This was before traffic lights arrived in the birthplace of selective democracy. The only ones who really deserve to get monetary presents, actually, are cops. People act funny during Christmas—men beat up their wives, children get high and drive too fast, muggers are out in force looking for victims—and the only ones who have to remain sober and vigilant are cops, doctors on duty, and ambulance drivers. We forget about them, but they’re the real heroes. But try to tell that to community leaders around the Bronx and Harlem in New York, or down in the East End of London. The Gstaad fuzz are the smartest. They don’t work on Christmas Eve or Day. In fact, I’ve never seen one of them working except when they discovered, Sherlock Holmes-like, that it was yours truly who had hit a tree and left a tiny scar on its bark on Christmas Eve, fifteen years ago. (You all know the story. Two cops barged into my chalet at 6 a.m., one of them a female. She asked me to follow her to the police station and I asked to go to my bedroom for a second. She followed and I asked her to remove her uniform but keep the gun belt and the boots on and get into bed. She arrested me and I was tried and convicted and heavily fined. Now she’s no longer a cop and is very friendly in town, but I keep my distance.)
The only argument I’ve ever had with a Spectator colleague was 41 years ago at Christmas. He said something rude about an African statesman, P.K. van der Byl, the Rhodesian foreign minister and a great man, and I took exception. Forty-one years later, with thousands of dead and the greatest country in Africa plundered and ruined, P.K. looks like a giant, something I always thought he was. I wish a very, very happy Christmas to all our readers the world over and to those who produce it every week.
On a recent visit to Geneva, somebody handed me a pamphlet titled 170 Daily Actions to Transform Our World, produced, so an understandably self-effacing line on its rear inside cover informed readers, by the Perception Change Project of the United Nations Office at Geneva, which is known by its very graceful acronym, UNOG.
On the rear of the glossily produced pamphlet were the following words, which the workaholics of the Perception Change Project of UNOG must have thought were very eloquent:
The Sustainable Development Goals are humanity’s to-do list for a sustainable planet, a clear roadmap for a better future.
Are there really people in the world who actually think in words such as these, or who have thoughts that in some way correspond to them? If so, they are much to be commiserated with; it must be a terrible affliction.
Compared with UNOG’s totalitarianism, all other totalitarianisms—the totalitarianism of Stalin and his gulag, the totalitarianism of Hitler and his extermination camps, the totalitarianism of Pol Pot and his relocation of city dwellers to the rice paddies—were but local solutions to local problems. According to UNOG, about 6,000,000,000 human beings (or however many humanity now comprises) have a uniform list of things to do that, presumably, they must all stick with a magnet to the door of their fridge.
What are these things? After reading a few of them, I confess that I was powerfully reminded of the time, many years ago, when I scoffed a large number of rich chocolates in a theater before the curtain went up and thereafter felt slightly sick for the rest of the performance.
I take at random a few of the 170 things for humanity to do.
Conserve, conserve, conserve. When ice cubes are left over from a drink, don’t throw them away. Put them into plants.
Here I was reminded of the Soviet multilingual phrase book in Somali, English, and Italian that I bought in Mogadishu during a famine and cholera epidemic:
Hand me the opera glasses, please.
Once a month have a coffee with a person who is different from you, whether in race, beliefs, culture or age.
Here, I am glad to say, I rather over-fulfill the target; in fact, when it comes to having a coffee with a person who is different from me, I over-fulfill the target practically every day of my life. I have more than one coffee a day with my wife, who is different in gender (as we must now put it), culture, and beliefs from me.
I do not wish unduly to boast, but everyone I meet seems to be different from me; in fact, I never meet my clones, if there are any. And I leave it to readers to decide how easy it is for nomads of the Ogaden to meet their Swiss bankers or some Canadian lumberjacks for their monthly coffee. (In what language will they communicate? UNOGese?)
Readers of the pamphlet, all presumably members of humanity, are urged to “Travel the world to learn about different cultures.”
Now, as the most minimal reflection or experience will persuade any person of average intelligence and sensitivity, there is nothing quite like mass travel for destroying the value—educational, spiritual, aesthetic—of travel itself. Nor is there any reason for supposing that other cultures, when found, will necessarily meet with the travelers’ approval rather than with, say, disgust. When Sayyid Qutb went to America, for example, it closed his mind forever. And I confess that when I visited North Korea, it did not cause me to respect North Korean culture, which is a permanent mixture of Nuremberg Rally and Busby Berkeley, but to view it with absolute horror and detestation. Nowhere in the world—at any rate, nowhere in the world known to me—is tyranny more absolute and all-pervasive than in North Korea. Am I then guilty in my detestation of not fulfilling another of the 170 daily transformative actions, that is to say of learning to respect all kinds of people who may do things differently from me?