As I predicted in my two previous Taki’s columns, the Trump administration offered to Democrats an extremely moderate and generous compromise immigration package. Trump proposed a path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal aliens in return for three sensible reforms of the immigration system: a wall, an end to chain migration (or, as it should more accurately be called, clan migration), and the elimination of Teddy Kennedy’s nitwit diversity lottery.
In response, the respectable have, predictably, gone nuts spewing racist hate. For instance, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi asserted that Trump’s compromise framework was part of his sinister plan to “make America white again.” Likewise, Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post explained “How to fight Trump’s plan to whiten our immigration system.” The new conventional wisdom is that it would be racist for the American people to have any say in how much immigration they must endure.
David Brooks of The New York Times at least offers an argument for why he supports ethnic swamping besides just the usual “White Americans, I hate you”:
Every few years I try to write a column staking out a reasonable middle ground on immigration…. The case for restricting immigration seems superficially plausible.
For example, there are 7 billion non-Americans in the world. So if America didn’t restrict immigration, over one hundred million immigrants would quickly pour into our country. They’d keep coming until life in America became about as cruddy as in their home countries.
But that doesn’t occur to Brooks. Much as he tries, David just can’t find any good reason to restrict immigration:
And every few years I fail. That’s because when you wade into the evidence you find that the case for restricting immigration is pathetically weak.
As proof, David recommends you drive through economically depressed parts of America:
If you start in rural New England and drive down into Appalachia or across into the Upper Midwest you will be driving through county after county with few immigrants. These rural places are often 95 percent white…. They are often marked by economic stagnation, social isolation, family breakdown and high opioid addiction.
First of all, is it even true that immigration correlates with prosperity? After all, when adjusted for cost of living, California has both the most foreign-born residents and the most impoverished people in the country. The state with the second-highest percentage of poor people is Florida, which has the second-highest percentage of immigrants.
Now, you might think that the reason there aren’t many immigrants in white parts of the country that have been hard hit by globalization and other economic changes is because immigrants head for places where Americans are creating a lot of wealth at present, like Silicon Valley, and avoid places that are yesterday’s news, like the coal-mining regions of West Virginia.
But Brooks thinks he knows better. Instead, regional inequality is because the prosperous parts of the United States “have embraced diversity” and thus attract the immigrants who are the secret sauce of economic prosperity. In contrast, the poorer parts of America “react with defensive animosity to the immigrants who out-hustle and out-build them.”
(Of course, many non-hustling poor parts of the country are heavily nonwhite, such as the lower Rio Grande Valley. But David is not going to drive there: Mexican regions of the U.S. are boring and depressing. And nonwhite parts of the United States don’t attract many immigrants because nonwhites don’t create many jobs.)
After all, David explains, immigrants are “better versions” of Americans than you Americans who are skeptical of mass immigration:
You’d react negatively, too, if confronted with people who are better versions of what you wish you were yourself.
David is tired of being stuck with you Americans as his fellow citizens. He would like to upgrade from you outmoded Americans 1.0 to his new, improved Americans 2.0 now.
For example, several weeks ago my wife, attempting to drive cross-country in late December relying solely upon the wisdom and prudence of Google Maps, found herself in the middle of a zero-degree night on an icy dirt road in a steep holler in West Virginia. Moments later she was in a ditch.
A few hundred yards away was the one habitation on the mountainside, a double-wide trailer. She banged on their door and roused the hillbillies. The lady of the trailer set to work making them coffee from bottled water (their pipes had frozen) while her husband tried to drag my wife’s car from the ditch. After an hour, he returned to announce his truck wasn’t powerful enough. So they called some kinfolk who owned a really big truck. They showed up quickly and hauled the car back onto the road.
According to Brooks, the reason these West Virginians who rescued my wife are living in trailers is because “they tend to elect candidates who oppose immigration and diversity.”
(Poor Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV, responded to Pelosi’s hate speech by demurring like a statesman: “We don’t need that type of rhetoric on either side, from Nancy, Paul Ryan or anybody else.”)
In contrast, richer places are rich because they are “attracting immigrants and supporting candidates who favor immigration.” And immigrants are more virtuous than you Americans:
It is a blunt fact of life that, these days, immigrants show more of these virtues than the native-born.
So, of course immigrants bring prosperity to wherever admits them, unlike those ignorant rednecks in West Virginia.
For example, The Colony on the beach in Malibu, Calif., which is home to outspoken Democrats like Barbra Streisand and Rob Reiner, is very pro-immigration, having voted 67–26 for Hillary over Trump in 2016. Malibu recently declared itself a “sanctuary city.” During the Democrats’ failed government shutdown, Reiner thundered:
Make no mistake, this shutdown boils down to one thing: RACISM. GOP frightened to death of the browning of America. They will lose this last big battle of the Civil War. Diversity is our strength.
As Brooks’ theory would predict, the residents of The Colony reap their rightful rewards for their tolerance, virtue, and opposition to borders, living in homes with an average price of $13 million, the highest in Los Angeles County.
On the other hand, as Brooks’ hypothesis would not predict, Malibu is also the whitest municipality in the huge county. And Reiner’s walled-in gated celebrity community of The Colony is even whiter.
Plus, Democratic activists like Reiner are adamant about using environmental restrictions to keep more people from moving to Malibu. Malibu’s population remains under 13,000 despite having a large fraction of the beachfront of a county of 10 million people. (Don’t let me give the impression, however, that Malibuites are totally xenophobic. Reiner, for example, sometimes offers to lease his weekend home in Malibu for six figures per month. Outsiders are welcome in Malibu as long as they are the right sort of outsiders.)
This is not to say that residents of The Colony don’t have any diversity around making them sandwiches. It just means that at the end of their shifts, most of their illegal-alien servants get on the bus and go back to where they live (in Compton, forty miles away).
Joseph Campbell suggested as a matter of fact that Westerners do not consider the Chinese to be people. It’s why the Chinese have a portrait of Mao hanging from one “Gate of Heavenly Peace,” and we get our pictures taken in front of it like it’s the Parthenon. It’s why Mao’s regime is technically still in power yet we keep giving them the Olympics. It’s why the Pope doesn’t hold the Church in China to the same standards he holds the Church in Europe. It’s even why 87,000 Chinese died in an earthquake not ten years ago though it barely moved the needle on our cultural seismograph.
Campbell gave no explanation as to why this is, though the implication seems to be the Chinese look different than we do. This may be a factor in our “othering”—to borrow a millennial usage—but what distinguishes the Chinese more than their almond eyes is the fact that, on a fundamental level, they don’t think like we do.
Language is a tool of cognition. To understand how people think, first understand their language. The main distinction about the Chinese language is it’s symbolic as opposed to phonetic. It’s as different from English as the Koran is to the Bible. The dissimilarity runs so deep that we cannot compare them to each other, only with each other.
Chinese has more than 50,000 pictures, each representing a concept. A picture of a flower means “flower,” a picture of a house means “house,” and a picture of a middle-aged man means “dad.” It’s the kind of language you would come up with if you were an uncreative third grader. It’s limited as a tool of cognition in that it doesn’t challenge the speaker to go beyond the perceptual level of awareness. The allure of symbolic language is that it substitutes memorization for understanding.
Not coincidentally, communism offers the same allure. It’s a concrete idea that solves every societal problem in one fell decree, so there’s no point in learning much else. When the Chinese do adopt free enterprise, they only do so because it makes sense perceptually—that is, it’s practical.
Western language, however, comprises sounds that are stitched together to create concepts, which leads to a fluidity of thought. It’s the difference between learning an instrument by reading music rather than rote. It’s why we have more novels. It’s why we’re more dedicated to abstract fields like philosophy and psychology. It’s why we have more Marxist T cells.
The perceptual would limit coal to reduce pollution, the conceptual would incentivize the replacement of coal with nuclear. The perceptual would give the poor money to reduce inequality, the conceptual would remove behavior impediments so the poor can make more money.
While the Chinese receive words from government councils, we create words from investigating reality. Writing, thinking, and discussion invariably lead to new concepts. Merriam-Webster responds to us, not the other way around. Thoughts are legislated not by the government but by a grassroots action. It’s the founding of America in linguistic format.
“If you’re black, we cannot be friends. Go fuckin’ die, you ugly-ass black people.” So begins a Snapchat video by a female California high school student. “Black people are trash, they need to die, like, I fuckin’ hate black people, they’re so annoying. So, when the police were killing all those black people, I was so happy, because I’m like, fuck black people…go die, bitches!” The charming young lady who recorded that rant is a student at Pleasant Grove High School in Elk Grove, located just south of Sacramento. Within days, the video garnered several million hits, leading to “breaking news” segments on all the local channels (apparently, every day in Elk Grove is a slow news day). Needless to say, the story also made waves in the “blackosphere,” on sites like The Root.
But it never went national. Why? Well, for one thing, we’re not exactly talking Dylann Roof-level evil here. This was just a teen making a video. But c’mon, when has the paltry nature of an offense ever stopped a story about racism from going national? This is an era in which a few poorly chosen words in a tweet from an absolute nobody can become a national scandal, provoking anger and outrage of Emmett Till-ian proportions. No, these days, this video of a “genocidally racist” high school girl should have been the lead story on MSNBC for five nights running. There should have been a minimum of thirty stories about it on Salon, and Danny Glover and Harry Belafonte should have been locking arms and marching through town singing “We Shall Overcome.”
The reason the story didn’t go national is simple: The girl who recorded the video isn’t white. She’s Desirae Fernandez, a Latina. So the national media had no interest. The Elk Grove Unified School District announced that Ms. Fernandez was no longer part of their student body, and everybody went about their business…until this month, when the district decided to hold an “anti-racism” open meeting. A Pleasant Grove senior, Rachael Francois—who is black—caught the attention of the press with stories of antiblack racism she’d encountered at the school. Now reporters from bigger markets became interested, because the villains in Francois’ tales are white.
Francois spoke to two intrepid sleuths from The Sacramento Bee, Anita Chabria and Diana Lambert. She recounted four tales of racist terror…ordeals that, as she put it, “ruined” her “self-worth.”
In one instance, a “truck filled with white classmates, mostly boys” drove past her, and the occupants “called out the N-word with a hard ‘r’” (for a landlocked city, it’s surprising to find pirates driving around Elk Grove). In the next incident, a “white student” entered a classroom and yelled, “Kill the N-words.” Not to be outdone, a different “white student” urinated on a black teen’s car. And, in the most soul-crushing of the terrors endured by Francois, a “white student” “said the N-word loudly” while sitting at a table during lunch.
Sisyphus ain’t got nothin’ on the daily torments of blacks at Pleasant Grove!
It didn’t appear to matter to the Bee’s dogged scoop-meisters that Francois apparently straight-up lied to them. “It really makes you feel different from everyone else, especially going to a predominately white school,” she’s quoted as saying. According to the Bee’s own figures, whites make up only 38% of the student body. They comprise the largest plurality, but the school is in no way “predominantly white.” Still, that little peccadillo didn’t deter Chabria and Lambert, who devoted nearly 2,000 words to Francois’ struggles. The Desirae Fernandez video was, of course, mentioned in the article. After all, it’s the catalyst for the story. Chabria and Lambert didn’t mention Fernandez by name; that’s understandable, as she’s a minor. But fascinatingly enough, they also failed to mention that she’s a Latina. In every instance recounted by Francois, Chabria and Lambert stressed “white.” But the student who launched this whole mishegoss? Not a word about her race or ethnicity.
I emailed the two reporters.
Chabria was only interested in speaking over the phone (California is a two-party-consent state regarding recorded phone calls, so this is a common tactic of CA journalists who want no record of a conversation). “Curt” is too kind a description for her phone manner. She brusquely explained to me that the Bee has a very firm policy regarding when race or ethnicity can be mentioned in a story. There can be no “guessing.” The Bee will only identify someone’s race or ethnicity if the person in question confirms it. And since Desirae Fernandez didn’t respond to a request for comment, her ethnicity must go unmentioned.
“Fascinating,” I replied. “So in every case in which you mentioned Francois’ alleged ‘white’ tormentors, you confirmed with the student that they identity as white, as opposed to, say, mixed race, or white-Hispanic?” Chabria refused to directly answer that question, only repeating again and again the unsatisfying generality, “We confirm our information.” “What about the boys in the truck?” I asked. I mean, if she had been able to confirm with each one of them how they self-identify, she’d know how many boys were in the truck. So how many were there?
She…pretty much hung up on me. “Rushed off the phone” is the kindest way I can put it.
Okay, sure, she’s as full of crap as a used colostomy bag. Like anyone else who carries the job title “social justice reporter,” she’s a hack with an agenda. I emailed the Bee’s entire editorial staff, and I could not get one of them to confirm Chabria’s claim that the paper has a “no mention of race/ethnicity until verified” policy. Wow, a disingenuous reporter…no surprise there. But what makes this episode instructive is that we witnessed something significant. As I’ve mentioned in previous columns, Hispanics, in general, have little love for blacks. The more Hispanics we have in this country (including immigrants from nations where black inequality is the norm), the more we’ll see antiblack “incidents” caused by Hispanics. What we witnessed in Elk Grove was the mainstream media’s by-the-book method of handling these types of stories: Sit on anything that makes brown folks look bad, and wait for (or create) an angle that will allow you to pin it all on whitey.
If “social justice Chabria” really cared about fighting racism, she would have told the tale honestly. But she doesn’t give a rat’s turd about fighting racism; it’s all about goin’ after whites. It’s crap like this that is causing more and more white Americans to withdraw from the whole “racism” debate. Anyone with half a brain can see that the media and the social justice thugs aren’t fighting honestly or with noble intentions. It’s just race-hate in the name of fighting race-hate.
Agustin Gurza used to be a columnist for the L.A. Times. He’s a die-hard open-borders leftist, and proud of it. But he was an honest ideologue. He wrote opinion pieces; he didn’t pretend to be a hard-news reporter. Back in 2000, Gurza wrote an outstanding column about how Latino leaders and their advocates in the press cover up antiblack crimes committed by Hispanics. As an example, he described the modern-day lynching of a local black man by a mob of Latinos:
The murder of Virgil Henry did not make the papers at the time. Not one word about a killing that should have jarred our collective conscience. I first read about it in colleague Peter Y. Hong’s story last week about a series of hate-motivated attacks that plagued Hawaiian Gardens in the mid-’90s. Black teenagers were roughed up walking home from school in the small, low-income city on the Orange County border between Long Beach and Cypress. Several homes of African American families were firebombed. Black residents were frequently threatened in public with the usual epithet and a warning: “Get out of our neighborhood.”
“I lighted a cigarette, and gave myself up to meditation.” Thus runs the most expressive quote from the entire canon of P.G. Wodehouse, who wisely leaves the actual content of Bertie Wooster’s meditations to our imaginations. I was reminded of the metaphysical aspects of smoking when the manager of my favorite cigar dealer—Sautter’s on London’s Mount Street—described a certain petit corona with a shrug and the simple words: “It’s a moment of reflection.” And yet the same reflective qualities can be found in a humble cigarette—as this timely deposition from The American Conservative neatly elucidates.
Smoking is a physical pleasure that reminds us that life is not merely a physical affair. It is a debit against the health of the body that credits to the health of the mind. As such, in its own small way, it is a reminder of the afterlife. It is also part of a civilized terrestrial life, and European life in particular. This makes it—along with humor, culture, and all the other hard-to-control aspects of our magnificent race—an irresistible target of the left. Being an indefatigable servant of human freedom, I smoke progressively more as various governments clamp down on it. Over a long lunch before Christmas my pal concluded that I just like “vice signaling.”
But who doesn’t love sinking their teeth into the reddest of all forbidden fruits: the indoor cigarette? The Austrians—whose mendacity has been honed passing the buck for two World Wars—have some type of loophole that allows this in the cafés of Vienna. In ever-pragmatic Amsterdam, smokers can simply chuck a Euro into the kitty used to pay the eventual municipal fine. Japan is still pleasingly libertarian and reactionary in the matter of smoking. Other countries are not so lucky. The miasma of civilization laid across the atavistic soul of South Africa is so thick that you now cannot smoke even outside the Brass Bell (a seaside pub on the Cape peninsular where my maternal grandfather drank and died; a tradition half of which I intend to keep up). With the pathological self-regard common to all socialists, many countries have even banned a harmless—and pointless—activity known as “vaping.”
Of course, the inquisitors of the modern state have other irons at their disposal than mere smoking bans. Health warnings on European packets show puckered sphincters punched, Hieronymus Bosch-like, into unsuspecting human necks. Well, that’s what the Brits get anyway. The more sensitive inhabitants of Italy—my home berth these last years—are treated to the sculpted flanks of a naked man suffering from tobacco grower’s droop (I have no firsthand evidence of such a thing ever actually occurring). These warnings should in theory be rotated through the different jurisdictions. Something tells me that the ever-biddable and sclerotic E.U. might not get around to imposing such an ugly dose of reality on delicate Latin constitutions of the bel paese.
The chief pile driver used by governments to punch down on smokers is, of course, taxation. With a hypocrisy as unapologetic as an Argentine stallion unfurling himself across the Pampas, governments pad their buttocks with hundreds of millions of revenue from an activity that they claim to decry. It matters not that this is the ultimate regressive tax, given that no self-respecting gentleman ever buys cigarettes in a high-tax jurisdiction. Locally bought cigarettes indicate one is too static or poorly connected to access cheaper and more attractive alternatives. Here we find a distant echo of Albania following the collapse of Communism, where anti-Western paranoia remained so high that local counterfeit cigarettes were more sought-after than the real imports.
Here too we come to the main point of my little discourse: that in their greed and venality, Western governments catalyze an immense trade in smuggled cigarettes. We’ve all heard stories in bars—in South Armagh or Bratislava or Casablanca—about how such smuggling funds terrorism. One of the Irish border’s most successful smugglers-cum-nationalists—or the other way round, depending on taste—was the expressively named Slab Murphy, whose house conveniently abutted the border. I’m given to understand that the Mohammedan terrorist who directed the assault on the Tigantourine gas plant in Algeria—which cost 39 innocent lives—counted among his sobriquets “Mr. Marlboro” on account of his funding methods. Without the massive international gradients in cigarette taxation, the magazines of his AK-47s would have been empty. The symbiosis between taxation and crime is also present in the dear old United States. Highways 81 and 95 are together known as Corridor A, along which tobacco is moved from the lower-tax states in the South toward lefty New York—where it is estimated that over half of all cigarettes consumed are now contraband.
In the 2016 Wisconsin Republican primaries, businessman Paul Nehlen (pronounced “kneelin’”) challenged soulless autocrat Paul Ryan but managed to snag only 15.9% of the vote. This year he is challenging Ryan again, with one big difference—in the interim, he has pushed the Overton Window so far to the right, he might as well have taken a sledgehammer and smashed it to pieces.
On policy issues, Nehlen remains the same meat-and-potatoes MAGA type that he was in 2016—he’s against open borders, free trade, gun control, abortion, and amnesty. These are the positions that initially earned him the backing of Steve Bannon and a regular writing gig for Breitbart.
What has changed—and what has caused Bannon and Breitbart to aggressively disavow him and purge all his former articles from their site—is that he’s said it’s “awesome” to be white and that Jews hold a degree of influence over American policy and the media that extends far beyond their estimated 2% of the population.
To my knowledge, several Americans—perhaps most at this sad point—would passionately argue against Nehlen’s contention that it’s OK to be white, or at least they’d do so in public, because they are well aware of the consequences of doing otherwise. But despite all the wailing and shirt-rending outrage, I haven’t seen anyone even bother to refute the whole “Jew” thing.
I’m asking for a friend—can anyone offer irrefutable statistical evidence that Jewish people do not account for more than 2% of media ownership and influence over American politics? It’s an honest and sincere question. I mean, I constantly hear this contention that Jewish people are disproportionately influential waved away as a “trope” and a “vicious myth,” but I’d really like to see the numbers. When people deflect from the matter at hand to call people nasty names and avoid the question, I’ve learned to suspect that they’ve already lost the argument.
The huge schism that seemingly occurred five minutes after Donald Trump’s election amid the amorphous and ultimately indefinable “Alt-Right” movement hinged on the “JQ”—the “Jewish Question.” Those who still refer to themselves as “Alt-Right” do not hesitate to ask the Jewish Question, while those who used to have no problem with the term “Alt-Right” but now call themselves “New Right” (and are smeared by stalwart Alt-Righters as the “Alt-Lite”) forbid the JQ from ever being asked.
Instead, this “New Right” is loudly pro-Israel, strains to distance itself from the Alt-Right (sometimes even more vociferously than it distances itself from leftists), and openly smears anyone who dares question the extent of Jewish influence in American and global politics and media as “Nazis.” Sometimes it seems as if the only difference between them and neocons is that they swear a lot.
But despite all their efforts and virtue-signaling, the Alt-Lite get called “Nazis” anyway. Constantly. Funny how that works.
It’s all ridiculous, hyperbolic, and counterfactual, of course. The JQ is even a question that Karl Marx addressed—he referred to Ferdinand LaSalle as a “Jewish nigger,” wrote that “The Jews of Poland are the smeariest of all races,” and said that the “worldly religion of the Jew” was “huckstering.”
To my knowledge, these statements are far harsher than anything Paul Nehlen has said about Jews, but for some reason Marx gets a pass and Nehlen doesn’t. Maybe it’s because Marx is the father of modern leftism. Maybe it’s the fact that Marx was Jewish. Maybe it’s a combination of both. I’d only be speculating. Unlike most modern writers, I don’t claim the ability to read minds.
I’m the type who feels that no questions should be forbidden, so according to the way the modern left frames the issue, that makes me a Nazi, no questions asked, no arguments allowed. I realized a long time ago—and especially since reading The Black Book of Communism—that since the 1930s, the fanatical left has smeared anyone who dares stray from their ideology one iota as “fascists” and “Nazis,” so it’s a meaningless smear. The Nazi Party was disbanded in 1945, so it’s technically impossible for anyone to be a Nazi these days, but why let facts get in the way? The left overused the term “racist” to the point where many people didn’t care being called one anymore, so I’ve noticed that over the past year, they’ve just flipped all the cards and called anyone who disagrees with them a “Nazi” who deserves to be punched or killed. Reason and linguistic accuracy never mattered to True Believers, anyway. What they really need to fear is overusing the word “Nazi” to the point where no one cares being called one, anyway, because at that point, what rhetorical weapons will the left have left?
The Week’s Most Clickable, Kickable, and Despicable Headlines
MEATHEAD CALLS FOR SECOND CIVIL WAR
Rob Reiner is a rotund and fundamentally charmless man who’d likely be a Certified Public Accountant if his father hadn’t been famous. He first gained fame as the defiant son-in-law of Archie Bunker on All in the Family, relentlessly acting as if he were morally superior to Archie while largely living on Archie’s dime.
Rumors have long circulated that Reiner is a pedophile, but those are unconfirmed and better left for a full-length examination in a feature article. (Leads and tips are greatly appreciated!)
During the recent government shutdown, Reiner chose not to blame it on the Democrats’ refusal to honor existing immigration laws, but rather on “RACISM,” which is a word that people such as Reiner use to describe anyone who desires an ethnic homeland in the style of, you know, Israel:
Make no mistake, this shutdown boils down to one thing: RACISM. GOP frightened to death of the browning of America. They will lose this last big battle of the Civil War. Diversity is our strength.
Diversity? You mean that word that is similar to “division,” that is rooted in a Latin word meaning “disagreement,” and always had a negative connotation until the early 1990s?
And hey, if Rob really thought that diversity is such a strength, why does he live in a city that is 91.5% white and only about 7% brown? If he’s so staunchly against borders, why does he live in a tightly gated community where the average home price is $13 million?
Because he’s a painfully hypocritical meathead, that’s why. Time will vindicate Archie Bunker. And make no mistake: In a real Civil War, this tubby knish wouldn’t last five minutes.
DISGRUNTLED ONLINE NINCOMPOOPS CLAIM THE SPANISH WORD FOR “BLACK” IS RACIST
A Mexican woman named Becky recently lost her black dog, whose name is Negro. In the event you are severely uneducated and/or learning impaired and weren’t aware, “Negro” is the Spanish word for “black.” It’s an innocent word unless you think that there’s something wrong with being black, and again, that’s a topic for an entirely different article. In an improbable twist of fate, Becky’s dog is black. When loyal nine-year-old Negro went missing, Becky pleaded for help on Twitter:
negro is missing…please if anyone sees him message me!!!
Rather than being showered with an outpouring of sympathy and help, Becky was largely rebuffed and reprimanded by hostile Tweeters whose hue, if their avatars are any indication, would accurately be described by the Spanish word “negro.” She was called a racist, was grilled as to why she’d have the audacity to call her black dog a Negro, and told that she deserved neither sympathy nor to ever find her dog again.
It is an odd world indeed where Negroes refuse to rescue a Negro.
UGANDAN PRESIDENT NOT UPSET BY TRUMP’S ALLEGED “SHITHOLE” REMARK
Whether or not Donald Trump actually referred to Haiti and African countries as “shitholes” isn’t important; what’s true is that the comment was not only accurate, it was hilarious.
Standing boldly alone among sub-Saharan tin-pot rulers is Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who has reigned over that dysfunctional bucket of dysentery since 1986. Last week he described his own nation as a “pre-industrial society” and had surprisingly warm words for Trump:
I love Trump because he speaks to Africans frankly. I don’t know if he was misquoted or whatever. He talks about Africans’ weaknesses frankly….Africans need to solve their problems. You can’t survive if you are weak. It is the Africans’ fault that they are weak.
Museveni represents a small beam of self-awareness shining across the Dark Continent.
PHOTO OF OBAMA AND FARRAKHAN, SUPPRESSED SINCE 2005, FINALLY RELEASED
The Right Reverend Honorable Mystical Innumerate Louis Farrakhan helms the Nation of Islam, a wacky black-supremacist cult founded by a man who did not appear to be black. Among other things (such as wearing bow ties and selling bean pies), the Nation of Islam teaches that whites were created by an evil scientist named Yakub and that there’s a gigantic black-operated spaceship named the Mother Plane hovering over Earth that will one day rain down violent retribution upon the Sons of Yakub.
To our knowledge, America’s mainstream press has never excoriated Farrakhan for claiming that white people are devils and will one day face a much-deserved extermination. No, but they have a huge problem with the fact that the Nation of Islam published a book about the Jewish role in the African slave trade.
Although in his own autobiography, Barack Obama admitted to being an avid reader of the Nation of Islam’s Final Call newspaper, this did not seem to impede his eventual path to two presidential terms.
But now comes news that photojournalist Askia Muhammad—sounds like a nice Jewish boy—snapped a picture of Obama and Farrakhan smiling and acting super-chummy in 2005. He also says that even before he left the scene where he took the photo, a member of the Black Congressional Caucus phoned him and persuaded him to hand over the photo to a Nation of Islam representative. However, Muhammad kept a copy of the photo hidden from the Nation of Islam representative and says now that if he’d released it back in 2005, it “absolutely would have made a difference” in Obama’s electoral prospects. He is reprinting it in an upcoming book.
So let’s review: Obama’s mentor and fundraiser Tony Rezko was also the Nation of Islam’s business manager. Obama read Farrakhan’s newspaper regularly, posed for a photo with him that borders on the bromantic, and yet the press refuses to condemn him. Donald Trump said he didn’t know David Duke and openly disavowed him, yet the press has nailed Trump and Duke together on the same cross.
Yet the country’s self-described “journalists” still wonder why people don’t trust them.
There is nothing quite as pleasing as to contemplate the imminent end of the world or the downfall of civilization. It gives you a sense of superiority for having recognized it when all about you people are going about their business as usual, as if nothing were about to happen. The fools!
I was reading the popular scientific journal New Scientist last week, as I do from time to time. The cover story was titled “The Writing on the Wall” and subtitled “The worrying signs that civilisation has started to collapse.” For people like me who find pessimism so much more interesting than optimism, this was good news indeed. (Optimists smile, but pessimists laugh.) But what, for New Scientist, were the signs of the collapse of civilization?
It was not altogether easy to say. I think a longish quote is in order:
According to Peter Turchin, an evolutionary anthropologist at the University of Connecticut, there are certainly some worrying signs. Turchin was a population biologist studying boom-and-bust cycles in predator and prey animals when he realised that the equations he was using could also describe the rise and fall of civilisations.
In the late 1990s, he began to apply these equations to historical data, looking for patterns that link social factors as wealth and health inequality to political instability. Sure enough, in past civilisations in Ancient Egypt, China and Russia, he spotted…recurring cycles that are linked to regular era-defining periods of unrest.
This is all very weaselly, if I may so put it. What does “linked to” mean? Causally linked? And did he choose his past civilizations because he knew that they would illustrate what he wanted them to illustrate? How trustworthy can the data be on increasing health differences in ancient Egypt and the China of, say, the Tang, Sung, and Ming periods? This all seems to me to have the strong flavor or smell of elaborated bilge, which no amount of mathematics can dispel.
There are other signs of the end of civilization, according to the article, among them the election of Donald Trump and the vote on Brexit. This means that what stands between us and the collapse of civilization—or one of the things—is the European Parliament and the European Commission. I thought I was pessimistic, but this takes pessimism to a stage well beyond even mine. If one of the only things standing between us and the new Dark Ages is the European Commission, then all I can say is that those new Dark Ages will be very dark indeed.
Perhaps one of the symptoms of the imminent collapse of civilization is the habit of taking opinions with which one disagrees as symptoms of the imminent collapse of civilization.
However, a psychologist at Princeton called Jonathan Cohen does not believe that collapse is inevitable. While he believes that societies that are heading for ruin often continue the very conduct that is leading them to ruin (amen to that, say I!), he thinks “Education has got to be part of the answer,” adding that “there could be more emphasis on analytical thinking in the classroom.” What he probably means by analytical thinking, if he were analytical enough to realize it, is indoctrination with the current secular pieties.
Here I turn from New Scientist to The Guardian, that journal of the secularly pious. In particular, I turn to an advertisement in the jobs section for schoolteachers. I quote from an advertisement for someone in a school whose title is Director of Social Pedagogy:
A rare and exciting opportunity has arisen to join our Executive and Senior Management Team. This is a key role within the organization with responsibility for all service provision for our children and young person services as well as for the support and development of a large and diverse social pedagogy staff team.
I trust that by now it is clear what the successful candidate will actually do when he turns up in the office on the Monday morning after his appointment; but in case it is not, let me continue with the quotation from the advertisement:
You will strive to achieve the best outcomes for our young people by putting them at the forefront of everything we do. This is an influential and unique role to lead and direct the organisation’s vision, values and ethos and drive innovation.
Before his untimely death last year, David Tang had attended a Pugs club luncheon under the proviso that no one would ask him how he felt. So all twenty of us asked him in unison, “How do you feel?” He burst out laughing. Sir David—he threw a riotous party at the Dorchester to celebrate his knighthood some years ago, and I got a bit tipsy and asked a good friend of his the reason for the knighthood; “for inserting his face the deepest in Prince Charles’ bottom,” was the rude answer—was a nonpareil storyteller. It was he who first told me about Fan Bingbing. Fan Bingbing is a Chinese actress and apparently very beautiful. When I asked David if he had FanBingbinged her, he feigned anger and told me to have more respect for a great Chinese thespian. Again, I was a bit tipsy—we met only at parties, never at funerals—so I insisted. “Come on, David, did you Bingbing her or not? You’re talking to Taki, not some credulous hack.” “If you write that I Bingbinged her I will sue, as I should have done all those years ago,” he said, trying to keep a straight face.
David Tang threw a party for me the night before I left to attend Pentonville University 35 or so years ago. Some years later, in St. Moritz, he asked me to please not write that he was in attendance for a great summer blast. (He was a very loyal Spectator reader.) Once back in London I received a telephone call from him, and he was in Orlando Furioso mode. I assured him I had not mentioned his name, as he was on a dirty weekend with the lady that was to become Lady Tang. “But my wife showed it to me!” he screamed. Silly Chinese boy, he had been Bingbinged by his Chinese wife. She had typed out an item purportedly written by me, then had it faxed back to her so it looked like my Speccie column, smudges included—one that said that he had been among the swells tripping the light fantastic in St. Moritz. So David spilled the beans and called me to complain. “Go out and buy The Spectator and see for yourself, you dumb Chinaman,” said yours truly. He rang back to apologize, got divorced, married Lucy, got knighted, told me about Fan Bingbing, and lived happily until his death.
Now Fan Bingbing is back in the news, xièxiè (“thank you” in Chinese) very much. A billionaire dissident by the name of Guo Wengui, camping out in his 9,000-foot residence in Central Park West, New York City, has accused Fan Bingbing of being the mistress of anti-corruption czar Wang Qishan, who he also accuses of having four other mistresses. (It is not clear if Fan Bingbing is suing Guo Wengui for saying she’s Wang’s mistress, or for saying that Wang has four other concubines, xièxiè very much.)
If any of you dear readers are confused by all this, xièxiè the Chinese language, not your poor little Greek correspondent. “Who would imagine that the czar of anti-corruption would himself be corrupt?” asked a puzzled Chinese. Just about everyone, xièxiè very much. My personal take on Wang—he’s the corruption czar and Fan Bingbing’s alleged keeper lover—is that he must be a great man because he has not only Fan Bingbing but also four other mistresses, according to the dissident billionaire parked on Central Park, New York 10021. The dissident Guo is as jealous as Othello, if a bit more yellow.
All this is very nice, but it seems that the tight-lipped Chinese Communist Party elite are very pissed off, xièxiè very much. Western journalists trying to write about the inscrutable Chinese are buffeted daily by currents of propaganda and disinformation, not to mention being Fan Bingbinged by troublemakers among dissident Chinese in Trumpland. A very long time ago, when I tried (unsuccessfully) to join the CIA, the first lesson I learned was never to believe a word I heard in Athens, where everyone talked rubbish, and never anything a Chinese person said, because they never said anything. My failure to join the agency was a long one, and it ended when the Saigon bureau chief of said agency wired Athens that I was “indiscreet, indiscriminate, and possibly a double agent.” The bureau chief in Saigon was of Greek extraction; imagine what a WASP would have wired, xièxiè very much.
But back to Fan Bingbing. She allegedly wants Guo the billionaire dissident to be extradited and face her in court and dare to repeat that she—Fan Bingbing—Bingbinged Wang, the anti-corruption czar. The American government is refusing to Bingbing Guo and send him back. The attorney general himself, Jeff Sessions, has assured Guo that Uncle Sam is not about to Bingbing him. As long as he keeps his billions, that is. What I think the management of The Spectator should do is cover the libel case of Fan Bingbing versus Guo Wengui, whether or not Fan Bingbing committed Bingbing with Wang, the anti-corruption czar. I am not suggesting myself. I’ve had it up to here with the Chinese, xièxiè very much. They can all go Bingbing themselves, as far as I’m concerned.
Last Saturday we saw women protest “gender inequality” throughout the nation. As ridiculous as they may have looked and behaved, all the carrying-on served a vital purpose: Like a religious ritual, it enabled women to think they are doing something important, something to improve their lives. You see, first feminism simplifies the complexity of women’s lives. The problem, we are to believe, is not that women are torn by conflicting values and interests. Rather, women are oppressed by men, who are creeps besides. Then feminism tells women to join together with other women to resist their oppressor.
This creates opportunities for all sorts of emotionally charged affairs, from the cheering of angry slogans to the shaming of famous men (who may or may not deserve it) in magazines and on television. It is fascinating to notice that such phenomena, more and more, serve as substitutes for the inner psychological drama that women used to experience in the form of romantic relationships. Now that men and women no longer know how to make relationships work, women use feminism not only to “explain” their condition; feminism becomes a de facto husband. You are wedded to the doctrine, with all its emotional highs and lows. It’s you two against the world—that is, against men. By this means women’s passions are powerfully engaged. Their strange world seems to make sense; they understand their misery and what to do about it. They even have a sense of solidarity with other women, which is not found in the workplace, where, alas, women as a whole struggle to keep up with the ablest men.
The point I am trying to make is that feminism needs to be understood from a psychological point of view. We need to understand why feminism makes sense to feminists. It is an ideology, and that means it does not have to be rational. Thus, it does not matter how many times the wage gap myth and the rape culture myth are debunked. Feminism is still highly seductive. For, while understanding the complexity of your situation would entail recognizing the need to make certain difficult trade-offs, that anguished endeavor can be ignored by simply believing all of your woes are due to men. Now, moreover, women can exercise the hysteria that, as the old stereotype about women suggests, is so characteristic of the fair sex. The psychologist Robert Bartholomew has written that
throughout history, groups of people in cohesive social units have suddenly fallen ill or exhibited strange behaviors, from headaches and fainting spells to twitching, shaking and trance states. But whether it’s an outbreak of spirit possession at a shoe factory in Malaysia, a collapsing marching band at a school gala in England or a twitching epidemic in a Louisiana high school, the pattern is invariably the same. Most, and often all of those affected, are females. In fact, of the 2,000+ cases in my files which date back to 1566, this pattern holds true over ninety-nine percent of the time.
Nothing annoys feminists more than equating women with hysteria; still, women’s behavior certainly merits the description, especially the behavior of feminists. In how they arise, the witch hunts we have seen in the media lately are not so different from the hysterias Bartholomew references. It is evident that women, with their lack of independent judgment, are highly susceptible to the feelings and beliefs of other women. This is why where a man simply makes a decision for himself, a woman typically turns to another woman: her mother, or her sister, or her girlfriend, or whomever. It is necessary to know what so-and-so thinks or would do. This is also why it takes just one upset woman to set in motion a vast chain of hysterical events. Hence women unintentionally cause one another (not to mention men) a great deal of trouble. It happens constantly, under the influence of another woman, that a woman who feels merely ambivalent about a man, or feels some regret about sleeping with him, suddenly comes to believe that she has been “used” or “assaulted.” Behind a woman’s bad decision how often there is another woman.
Far more than men, women, with their maternal endowment, are by nature very interested in other people’s business, and their frequent mischievous gossip and opinions regarding matters that do not concern them represent a profound need for emotional intrigue of some sort. Here truth and justice are much less important to women than the intrigue itself, which requires occasions, as it were. Recently a woman said to me about a woman we know who had fallen sick: “I have to go see her; I haven’t seen her since she’s looked like that.” It was immediately plain to me that that was a woman’s thing to say. Indeed, it is quite unthinkable that any man would have made such a remark. The women journalists who wrote about Aziz Ansari’s bad date with a typical neurotic and oblivious millennial woman left many of us men scratching our heads. Is that pettiness and humiliation really news? To women, yes. The American media and America’s universities have taken an hysterical turn. Given the overwhelming influence of women, that was bound to happen. For the most part, intellectual women are soap operas at bottom.
CHICAGO—For the first couple months after Get Out was released, I was beating the drums for it, telling anyone who would listen that it was brilliant dark-comedy horror with a Rosemary’s Baby vibe combined with a Roger Corman-type social-commentary subtext. The film has a third-act problem, but I would tell people, “You won’t care because the rest of it is so damn brilliant.”
Pseudo-intellectuals on the internet can ruin anything.
First it was “a new kind of horror film.” Well, not really. The involuntary-brain-surgery sequences are so hackneyed as to make you long for the artistry of Bloodsucking Freaks.
Then it was “the most significant horror film of the last fifty years.” What? Huh? Who?
Then it was “the first horror film to feature a black protagonist.” EXCUSE ME, but, uh, Night of the Living Dead? Not to mention Blackenstein, Blacula, The Beast Must Die, the remake of House on Haunted Hill, Halle Berry in The Call, Wesley Snipes in Blade, Laurence Fishburne in Event Horizon, Grace Jones in Vamp, the little boy in Wes Craven’s The People Under the Stairs, Jada Pinkett in Demon Knight, Danny Glover in Predator 2, Tony Todd in everything including the Tom Savini remake of Night of the Living Dead, Naomie Harris in 28 Days Later—and I’m sure I’m leaving some out. Who invents this stuff?
Next, Get Out was “the film that sums up the paranoid racism of the Trump era.” Are we watching the same movie? The killers are East Coast liberals, in case you didn’t notice.
The next stage was, “Certain to be nominated for multiple Academy Awards and propel Jordan Peele into the ranks of major Hollywood directors.”
This particular claim was tested the first time when the film was nominated by the Golden Globes in the “musical or comedy” category. Outrage coursed through Twitter at the humiliation of being lumped with I, Tonya, The Greatest Showman, The Disaster Artist, and Lady Bird, all of which are movies about mere white people and, besides, Get Out is not just a comedy.
The fact is, there is no horror category at the Golden Globes. Awards shows don’t like horror. They were trying to fit it in somewhere and that’s the only place it halfway belonged. But I didn’t expect Jordan Peele to go all ex cathedra on us. He actually issued a formal news release reacting to the category:
The reason for the visceral response to this movie’s being called a comedy is that we are still living in a time in which African-American cries for justice aren’t being taken seriously. It’s important to acknowledge that though there are funny moments, the systemic racism that the movie is about is very real. More than anything, it shows me that film can be a force for change. At the end of the day, call ‘Get Out’ horror, comedy, drama, action or documentary, I don’t care. Whatever you call it, just know it’s our truth.
Oooooooooooookay, Jordan. We called it a comedy because we think deadly conspiracies against black people are really, really funny.
Bad sign: directors who issue statements about the intentions of their films, instead of letting the film speak for itself.
First of all, the Golden Globes are bestowed by the Foreign Press Association. Therefore, by definition, those 93 voting critics don’t care about African-Americans except in a purely intellectual way. They’re interested in good movies, not American politics.
Second: Documentary? Really?
Third: “our truth.” Okay. I was apparently wrong when I told people how effective it was at depicting universal fears. Apparently it was only black fears.
There’s this thing that happens to some horror directors after their first successful film. They go into “I’m not just a horror director” mode. The same defensiveness can happen with other genres, too—“I’m not just a comedy director,” “I’m not just an action director”—but there’s a special paranoia about horror, as though these guys are about to suffer the fate of Rondo Hatton, the character actor with a bizarrely shaped head who could never be considered for anything except creep-out roles.
I guess that’s what’s happening with Jordan Peele, who—thank God and praise the Twitterverse—received an Academy Award nomination for Best Director earlier this week and, since the Academy doesn’t recognize genres, a Best Picture nomination as well. It’s all a damn shame, though, because I was hoping he would make more horror films.
The reason that seems increasingly unlikely is that Peele has also received a coronation far more lasting than a mere Oscar nomination. The New York Times Sunday Magazine called Get Out “the movie of the year,” praised its “alarming presentation of white racism,” and described the “sunken place”—the helpless state the protagonist drops into when he’s drugged by the evil white mother of his conniving girlfriend—as “a strange, complicated, disturbing metaphor for the long history of white control over the black body.”
Wesley Morris, the Times writer, goes even further by saying that, when the black hero of the movie is drugged and imprisoned by the smiling suburban whites, it represents “institutional disenfranchisement and racial self-estrangement—an explanation for the behavior of black people who seem to be under white control, based on either their sustained proximity to whiteness or statements construable as anti-black, or probably both.”
Yes, probably both.
Lest you mistake the tone of this piece, Morris goes on to condemn “the notorious horror convention of black characters being the first to die” (funny, I’ve seen hundreds of slashers and I always thought it was the wisecracking fat white kid who died first) and notes that, in the entertainment world, “America loves a loud, crazy, funny black person as much as it needs to see him passed over for work, harshly sentenced and shot to death.”
Okay. Points noted. Get Out is not as much fun as we thought. It’s apparently about African-American anger.
Unfortunately, the awful truth for the intellectuals who have adopted a horror film is that Get Out is not only not the best movie of the year, it’s not even the best horror movie of the year.