Until today, I was not aware that there was an academic subject known as Fat Studies. You can take Fat Studies at several universities, and it will probably come as no surprise to readers to learn that they are fully compatible with the main aim of modern education, namely the promotion of a sense of grievance and resentment in the students. One university described its course of Fat Studies as the “Examination of weight based oppression as a social justice issue with other systems of oppression based on gender, race, class, age, sexual orientation, and ability.”

How terrible! Discrimination on the basis of ability, for example in jobs such as airline pilots, nuclear physicists, and brain surgeons! Could social injustice go further? It is good to know that universities will henceforth refuse to deepen social injustice and inequality (the same thing, actually) by rewarding, much less by requiring, intelligence or effort, the latter being the pure product of the cultural expectations of the sociodemographic group to which a student belongs and which determines the strength of the efforts he is prepared to make. In other words, personal effort is not really personal at all, but a social product.

I hesitate in this context to appear weak and wishy-washy, but my own attitude to the question of obesity is somewhat nuanced. (Nuance was hated and feared above all things by a newspaper for which I used sometimes to write, whose pages avoided it as Dracula avoided holy water and garlic flowers.) I have not a clear line to promote.

Few people desire to be fat or are happy to be fat. The only people I ever knew who actively wanted to be fat (I have known no sumo wrestlers) were some women in Zululand whose husbands gained prestige from what Thorstein Veblen would no doubt have called the result of their wives’ conspicuous consumption.

“Most of us are incapable even of taking a course of antibiotics as prescribed.”

Fat people are not wicked or evil, but mostly they are, or have been, weak: as are, or have been, the rest of us in some respect or other. It would never occur to me to insult or humiliate someone simply because he was fat, not because I did not think that he was in considerable part the author of his own downfall, or rather his expanded adiposity, but because it is wrong to insult or humiliate people and further add to their unhappiness without any reason to do so.

It is true, of course, that there are social correlates of obesity, of which there has been a vast increase in recent decades. The poor are fatter than the rich because of their diet and inclination to watch television as much as they can. Their diet is bad not because the food they eat is cheap, but because the bad food they eat is convenient, requires no effort (on their part) to prepare, and is immediately gratifying. It is possible also that feminism has played a malign role, by making it beneath girls’ dignity to be taught or to learn to cook. Squealers will no doubt protest, “Why not boys as well?” The fact is, however, that in general only middle-class, conventionally married men cook, and women are far more often the caregivers of children in single-parent households; I very much doubt that this is going to change in the near future. So if women can’t cook it has worse social effects than if men can’t cook.

It is also true that fat children are likely to grow into fat adults, though this is not an absolute fatality against which human volition can do nothing. There is a genetic predisposition to obesity also, but again (except in rare cases) this is not a fatality. But women in particular who allow their children to grow fat, who are often fat themselves, are knowingly giving their children a prolonged handicap in life, not insuperable but difficult to overcome. I know of a very fat little boy whose mother gives him a diet of sweetened drinks and junk food, more or less ad libitum, such that on the rare occasions—for example, on a visit to his grandmother—when he is deprived of them, he makes a great scene. I try to understand and sympathize with the stupidity of the mother, but I find it difficult to do so, especially as she does not work and therefore cannot claim she is too busy to cook. No doubt some psychologist or sociologist would be willing, though not necessarily able, to explain her conduct away; but to do so would be implicitly to deny individual human responsibility for anything, effectively transferring all responsibility to governments or other organizations—which, alas, are composed of people also.

I sympathize with the struggles of the fat in their efforts to slim. Temptation is all around them, and often they are so far gone that to reduce weight significantly, other than by surgery, would take months of iron self-control. How many among us are capable of such self-control without any visible effects to encourage us to continue? Most of us are incapable even of taking a course of antibiotics as prescribed.

I have just read an article about an obese woman in France, Gabrielle Deydier, who has published a book about her struggles with obesity and the insults that she has suffered because she is so fat. On a personal level, I sympathize with her. According to an accompanying photograph (she is indeed very fat), she has an appealing face.

The problem comes when policy prescriptions are implied that are based on rights. She says that she would like more visibility of the obese in “the public space,” by which I supposed she means on television or in parliament, maybe a quota for them. Since 16 percent of adults in France are obese, how long will it be before someone advocates that 16 percent of deputies to the French National Assembly ought to be obese? Anything else, after all, would be demographically unjust.

The article begins:

Until now, we have found the arm-rests of theatre seats rather useful. We even practiced a discreet duel with the elbows of our neighbours to claim the maximum of area on them. That was before Gabrielle Deydier, aged 40, made us realise that these limited spaces were not at all comfortable for those whose size didn’t permit them to fit into them.

What are theaters supposed to do? Reduce the numbers of seats so that the fat can fit in? Obesity, while it disables, is not a disability; it is not like paraplegia, and however much we may sympathize with the fat as individuals, we should not pretend that it is.

A word in the article that I did not previously know caught my attention: grossophobie, fatphobia. But one is not irrationally fearful of obesity or fat people: One simply prefers people not to be obese. One fears to grow fat by eating too much, especially of the wrong things, but that is not irrational. If you eat too much, you will grow fat. To prefer one thing to another is not a symptom of a phobia, that is to say a mental disorder. Because I prefer water to Coca-Cola, I do not suffer from Colaphobia.

“Karen” and “Becky” are two neologisms with opposite meanings for the enjoyable life. Here’s your field guide.

Karen: a person, often a white woman, who feels entitled to lecture perfect strangers about their behavior.

Synonyms: “Co-op Board President”; “Hillary Clinton”; “Portland ‘Moms'”

Becky: a white woman who calls the police on a suspicious black male.

Synonyms: “Still alive”; “Breathing”

Karens used to be known as “bossy,” but then Sheryl Sandberg said “bossy” was patriarchal, misogynistic and sexist, so a new word had to be invented to describe the exact same conduct.

— A Karen will walk across the street to tell you you’re in a non-smoking area.

— She’s the person who harangues strangers (not customers) on mask-wearing — pro or con.

— She’s the Harvard Asian who made a TikTok video lecturing white people on their racism and threatening, “Ima stab you!”

The public has been crying out for a word like “Karen” ever since “bossy” was cruelly taken away from us.

I’m more interested in the Becky.

As a huge fan of Me Not Being Killed, I can’t help but notice that the Becky concept runs counter to all received wisdom on how to avoid becoming a crime statistic. The central lesson, for example, of Gavin De Becker’s smash, featured-on-“Oprah” bestselling book, “The Gift of Fear and Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence” is: Trust your gut.

On the very first page, De Becker writes:

“I’ve learned some lessons about safety through years of asking people who have suffered violence, ‘Could you have seen this coming?’ Most often they say, ‘No, it just came out of nowhere.’ But if I am quiet, if I wait a moment, here comes the information: ‘I felt uneasy when I first met that guy …’ or ‘Now that I think of it, I was suspicious when he approached me.'”

Women in particular, he says, are at a disadvantage because of their desire not to appear “rude.”

True, women’s gut feelings may be oversensitive to black men. We’ll get to that later. Now we’re talking about how to avoid being a victim of violence. And it’s survival of the Beckiest.

“All strange men ought to set off some level of alarm bell in women, who are substantially weaker than men, have vastly less testosterone, and therefore should not be cops or soldiers.”

All strange men ought to set off some level of alarm bell in women, who are substantially weaker than men, have vastly less testosterone, and therefore should not be cops or soldiers. If a woman is wrong about a white guy — no harm, no foul. (In fact, the man would probably still be blamed.) If she’s wrong and it’s a black guy, heaven help her! She’s a Becky. Her life will be ruined.

Whenever I hear about Beckys, I’m reminded of the rape-torture of a 23-year-old Columbia University graduate student in 2007. Returning to her apartment building around 10 o’clock one night, she rode in the elevator with an unfamiliar black man, who had been living on the street. He got off on her floor, followed her down the hallway, then asked her a question about where someone lived, just as she was entering her apartment.

She stopped — according to the prosecutor, to be “kind” — and began to answer his question. Wouldn’t want to be a Becky!

Over the next 19 hours, Robert A. Williams raped and tortured the woman, tying her to the bed, cutting off her hair, slitting her eyelids with scissors, throwing boiling water over her face and chest, pouring bleach into her eyes, forcing her to swallow handfuls of ibuprofen, gluing her mouth shut and ordering her to gouge out her eyes with scissors, among other monstrosities.

Finally, at 4 p.m. the next day, Williams bound the unconscious woman to her bed with computer cables, set her apartment on fire and left. Awakened by the smoke, she used the fire to burn through her restraints and escaped — which is the only reason we know how a homeless guy got into a graduate student’s apartment.

The dead can’t talk — usually. But there’s this story from the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

In 2009, Jeanne Calle, a recently retired researcher at the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, overheard a young African American man, Shamal Thompson, inquiring about apartments for sale in her high-end condo building, the Aqua. As she passed Thompson in the lobby, she mentioned that hers was for sale, too.

A short while later, Calle got a call from the front desk, saying Thompson would like to come up and see it — and asking her if she wanted a security guard to escort him.

“No, it’ll be fine,” Calle replied. “I don’t want him to think that we don’t trust him.” Of course not. That would be “racist.”

Perhaps the security guard would not have asked the question had the man been white. But if he’d been white, you can be damn sure Calle wouldn’t have worried about appearing to “trust” him.

Thirty minutes later, Calle was dead. Thompson had slammed her head onto the kitchen’s granite countertop, fracturing her skull, then dragged her lifeless body into the pantry, and stole her diamond engagement ring, credit cards and money.

No one discounts the humiliation young black men experience when they are eyed with fear and suspicion, when women cling to their purses around them, when the police are called on them for doing normal things that would not raise alarms if they were older white women — or older black women, for that matter.

I believe the subject of this particular pain and suffering has been pretty well aired out over the past few years. Oh well. We all have our crosses to bear.

But to quote the revered feminist Margaret Atwood: “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.”

You can be a Becky and risk being wrong, leading to your humiliation, firing and social banishment. Or you can refuse to be a Becky and risk being dead.

The most beautiful places in the world experienced a wild transformation from traveler to tourist (then from tourist to hooligan). For better or worse, the economy was revolutionized as much as society, customs were globalized, and the barbarians of the north learned the benefits of olive oil while the luminous Mediterranean never got used to peanut butter.

The fashion may have started with the Grand Tour, when certain eccentric Englishmen decided to escape from puritanical England to Italy. They were the outsiders in search of pleasure and adventure, who found a more relaxed Catholic morality with their favorite peccadilloes. It was a time that could go from William Beckford to Somerset Maugham, more in the elite group of sensual travelers than the economic group of sex tourists.

In the middle of the last century came the tour operator, all-inclusive mammoth hotels, massive detention-center-like cruises, chartered planes for groups going on a week’s holiday, an escape valve from slave labor. Paradises were exploited and the natives prostituted their customs to service the economic demand. The barbarians had bet better on the Industrial Revolution (those dark satanic mills of William Blake), and the new invasion was permitted in exchange for money.

But this year tourism has gone down the drain, as in Kavafis’ poem, and many countries dependent on tourism yearn for the barbarians, who may be a solution after all.

Especially in Spain. Boris Johnson’s decision to quarantine every Englishman who has spent a few days on the Spanish coast is a blow to the Iberian economy. Perhaps this is because the resurrected Boris admits to being concerned about his obesity and fears that olive oil, paella, and sangria will make his compatriots lose their way. The virus is more dangerous for fat people and threatens to put the world on a diet. Perhaps this will bring back the aesthetic canon of the Venus of Praxiteles before that of Willendorf, as the obesity epidemic is also a pandemic.

Many British people living in Spain do not agree with the prime minister’s health measures. Nor are they willing to trade Marbella or the Balearic Islands for the monkeys of that last European colony called Gibraltar. They are happy with the Iberian way of life even though they don’t speak a word of Spanish. And there are many mixed marriages, so the Anglo-Saxon tribe is finally being properly Romanized.

“There are no pub crawls where hooligans enjoy themselves in a way they would never dare in their beloved England.”

It’s a romance that comes from afar. When Robert Graves announced his decision to stay in Mallorca, the chubby Gertrude Stein asked him with a typical Semitic guilt complex: “But, my dear Robert, will you be able to endure paradise?” Paradise is divinely endured when one has a certain hedonistic culture, and Graves spent the rest of his life enchanted by the white goddess of Deià.

Despite economic ruin, many natives are feeling lucky and have applied the classic Carpe Diem. They can enjoy their summer paradise without having to share it with hordes of tourists the color of lobster thermidor. There are no pub crawls where hooligans enjoy themselves in a way they would never dare in their beloved England. The classic Rioja drunkenness is back instead of Tampvodka (believe it or not, it consists of soaking a Tampax in vodka and then using it at your convenience: The result is an instant high and a very effective undercarriage wash). They start thinking about quality rather than quantity, which is a sign of refinement.

It will be in the autumn, when the economy is dry again, that many will remember Kavafis thinking that the barbarians could be a solution after all.

(The article in its original Spanish immediately follows.)

Viajeros y Barbaros

Los lugares más hermosos del mundo vivieron una transformación salvaje al pasar del viajero al turista (luego se pasó del turista al hooligan). Para bien y para mal se revolucionó la economía tanto como la sociedad, se globalizaron costumbres y los bárbaros del norte aprendieron las bondades del aceite de oliva mientras que el luminoso Mediterráneo jamás se acostumbró a la mantequilla de cacahuete.

La moda posiblemente se inició con el Grand Tour, cuando algunos excéntricos ingleses decidieron escapar de la puritana Inglaterra rumbo a Italia. Eran los outsiders en busca de placer y aventura, que encontraban una moral católica más relajada con sus pecadillos favoritos. Era una época que podría ir de William Beckford a Somerset Maugham, más en el grupo elitista de viajeros sensuales antes que el económico de turistas sexuales.

Y a mediados del siglo pasado comenzó el tour-operador, hoteles mastodónticos todo incluido, multitudinarios cruceros-prisión, aviones fletados para grupos que marchaban una semana de vacaciones, una válvula de escape de la esclavitud laboral. Los paraísos se masificaron y los nativos prostituyeron sus costumbres por exigencias de la economía. Los bárbaros habían apostado mejor por la revolución industrial (esos dark satanic mills de William Blake) y su invasión fue permitida a cambio de dinero.

Pero este año el turismo se ha ido a pique y, como en el poema de Kavafis, muchos países dependientes del turismo añoran a los bárbaros, que podían ser una solución después de todo.

Especialmente en España. La decisión de Boris Johnson de meter en cuarentena a todo inglés que haya pasado unos días por la costa española, supone un mazazo a la economía ibérica. Tal vez se deba a que el resucitado Boris reconoce estar preocupado con su obesidad y teme que el aceite de oliva, la paella y la sangría hagan perder la línea a sus compatriotas. El virus es más peligroso para los gordos y amenaza con poner el mundo a dieta: tal vez así regrese el canon estético de la Venus de Praxíteles antes que la de Willendorf, pues la epidemia de obesidad es también pandémica.

Muchos británicos que residen en España no están de acuerdo con las medidas sanitarias del primer ministro. Y tampoco están dispuestos a cambiar Marbella o Baleares por los monos de esa última colonia europea llamada Gibraltar. Están felices con el modo de vida ibérico aunque no hablen ni jota de español. Y se dan muchos matrimonios mixtos, con lo cual la tribu anglosajona por fin se romaniza debidamente.

Es un romance que viene de lejos. Cuando Robert Graves anunció su decisión de quedarse a vivir en Mallorca, la oronda Gertrude Stein le preguntó con típico complejo de culpa semita: “Pero, mi querido Robert, ¿serás capaz de aguantar el paraíso?” El paraíso se aguanta divinamente cuando se tiene cierta cultura hedonista, y Graves pasó el resto de su vida encantado con la diosa blanca de Deiá.

A pesar de la ruina económica, muchos nativos están de enhorabuena y deciden aplicar el clásico Carpe Diem. Pueden gozar de su paraíso en verano sin necesidad de compartirlo con hordas turísticas color langosta termidor. No hay pubs crawl donde los hooligans disfrutan de un modo como nunca se atreverían en su querida Inglaterra. Regresa la clásica embriaguez con Rioja antes que Tampvodka (aunque no lo creáis, consiste en empapar un tampax en vodka y luego emplearlo a conveniencia: el resultado es una cogorza instantánea y un lavado de bajos de lo más efectivo). Se empieza a pensar antes en la calidad que en la cantidad, lo cual es síntoma de refinamiento.

Será en otoño, cuando la seca economía apriete, el tiempo en que muchos recordarán a Kavafis diciendo que los bárbaros podían ser, después de todo, una solución.

In the biopic Mr. Jones, the insidious Peter Sarsgaard plays Walter Duranty, the sinister New York Times Moscow correspondent who covered up Stalin’s Ukraine famine of the early 1930s.

Duranty, who won a 1932 Pulitzer Prize for his PR work for the Kremlin in the Times, remains something of an enigma despite his notoriety as a propounder of Fake News. What motivated Duranty to paint such a rosy picture of the Five-Year Plan?

In an era of grim ideologues, Duranty was a charming mountebank. Journalist Malcolm Muggeridge, who knew him in Moscow during Duranty’s glory days in the 1930s, recalled four decades later:

I always enjoyed his company; there was something vigorous, vivacious, preposterous, about his unscrupulousness which made his persistent lying somehow absorbing.

In the years after the stock market crash of 1929, when only the Soviet Union appeared to have any money to spend, many intellectuals quickly became converts to Marxism. (Few, though, wondered where Stalin was getting the money to buy foreign factories and subsidize visits by luminaries like George Bernard Shaw.)

But the chauvinistic Englishman Duranty was never a true believer in leftism. He liked free speech and capitalism just fine in the West. Instead, he saw Russians as Asiatics racially incapable of democracy, requiring a cruel czar to rule over them.

Perhaps Duranty, who had previously served as right-hand man to Satanist Aleister Crowley (who preached, “Do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”), found the genuinely evil man he’d always been looking for in Stalin.

In any case, betting on Stalin was very good for Duranty’s career: He presciently reported as early as 1923 that Stalin would likely outmaneuver Trotsky to become Lenin’s successor. Ever after, Duranty liked to chortle, “My money’s on Stalin.”

Mr. Jones tells the heroic story of the young Welsh reporter Gareth Jones, who was the first to break the news of the Ukraine famine under his own name.”

Mr. Jones (rentable from Amazon Prime for $3.99) tells the heroic story of the young Welsh reporter Gareth Jones (played by James Norton, a front-runner to become the next James Bond), who on March 29, 1933, was the first to break the news of the Ukraine famine under his own name.

On the other hand, Muggeridge, whom I had dinner with in 1979 when he visited Rice U. on a lecture tour (here is my article in the Rice Thresher), had anonymously reported the story four days earlier in the Manchester Guardian. But few paid attention to Muggeridge’s unsigned articles, while Jones’ previous job as a foreign policy adviser to David Lloyd George, the prime minister who had won the Great War, gave weight to his report, as had his dramatic interview the month before with Hitler on the plane carrying the new Chancellor to Berlin.

Duranty chose to ignore Muggeridge’s articles and instead attempted to cancel Jones in his New York Times response the next day:

Deaths From Diseases Due to Malnutrition High, Yet the Soviet is Entrenched

Duranty’s headline about how Russians weren’t starving, they were merely dying of diseases due to malnutrition, is reminiscent of current media attempts to spin our endless riots, such as ABC News’ recent tweet: “Protesters in California set fire to a courthouse, damaged a police station and assaulted officers after a peaceful demonstration intensified.”

Duranty went on:

Mr. Jones is a man of a keen and active mind, and he has taken the trouble to learn Russian, which he speaks with considerable fluency, but the writer thought Mr. Jones’s judgment was somewhat hasty and asked him on what it was based. It appeared that he had made a forty-mile walk through villages in the neighborhood of Kharkov and had found conditions sad.

I suggested that that was a rather inadequate cross-section of a big country but nothing could shake his conviction of impending doom….

To Duranty, it hardly mattered that millions were famished due to Stalin’s economically illiterate decision to collectivize agriculture. What mattered was, as Koba would say: “Who? Whom?” And Duranty’s money was on Stalin.

And Duranty was right about that. Twenty eventful years later, Stalin died on his couch, still dread master of the world’s vastest domain.

Duranty summed up his response to Jones’ scoop with his most famous bit of Stalinoid wisdom:

But—to put it brutally—you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs…

Muggeridge believed that just as Duranty knew the truth about Stalin but didn’t care, The New York Times knew the truth about Duranty:

By the same token, if the ‘New York Times’ went on all those years giving great prominence to Duranty’s messages, building him and them up when they were so evidently nonsensically untrue, to the point that he came to be accepted as the great Russian expert in America, and played a major part in shaping President Roosevelt’s policies vis-a-vis the USSR—this was not, we may be sure, because the ‘Times’ was deceived. Rather, because it wanted to be so deceived, and Duranty provided the requisite deception material…. Just as the intelligentsia have been foremost in the struggle to abolish intelligence, so the great organs of capitalism like the ‘New York Times’ have spared no expense or effort to ensure that capitalism will not survive.

Two years later in 1935 while reporting from Inner Mongolia, the intrepid Jones was kidnapped and murdered by bandits, perhaps at the behest of the vengeful Soviet NKVD.

In contrast, while few had noticed Muggeridge’s articles at the time, he went on to live into the 1990s as one of England’s most famous pundits, the man who introduced Mother Teresa to the world in 1968. His memoir, Chronicles of Wasted Time, became the most influential account of what it was like to serve as a foreign correspondent in Stalin’s Moscow.

To bolster Muggeridge’s claim that:

As it happened, no other foreign journalist had been into the famine areas in the USSR except under official auspices and supervision, so my account was by way of being exclusive.

He left out all mention of Jones’ similar venture. Hence, Jones’ fame faded in the second half of the 20th century, only to return in the 21st. The movie gets its revenge on Muggeridge by giving him about three-quarters of a second of screen time.

As a film, Mr. Jones is quite satisfactory, but suffers from a limited budget of around $10 million. Other than Sarsgaard, the cast isn’t star-studded.

Moreover, the most visually spectacular incidents of Jones’ short life are missing. The plot begins, for example, with Jones recounting to what appears to be the British cabinet how his recent flight with Hitler convinced him that England must seek an accommodation with the big-spending Soviet Union (if only he could figure out where the Soviets are getting their foreign exchange…).

But why not show us Jones interviewing Hitler aloft? Similarly, why not spring for a two-minute epilogue depicting Jones’ final adventure in Inner Mongolia?

Also, the musical score is slightly annoying, which detracts from the enjoyment.

Polish director Agnieszka Holland has excessive confidence in her audience’s historical literacy, their ability to figure out on their own without any explanatory supertitles that, say, the grand old man who is Jones’ mentor is Lloyd George, or that the soulful writer in the prologue composing Animal Farm is George Orwell.

The elaborate Orwellian framing device for Mr. Jones assumes that the farmer in Animal Farm is named “Mr. Jones” in honor of Gareth Jones, although why Orwell would think that would be a worthy honor is unexplained.

Of course, the real reason for dragging Orwell into the story is because millions of people have read Animal Farm in high school. And it’s not a bad thing to give audiences a foothold. Personally, I would have also added to the script the only Englishman of the time definitely more famous to Americans than Orwell: Lloyd George’s old sidekick Winston Churchill, if just to show what a titanic personality Lloyd George was. Churchill lamented that in terms of interpersonal dominance, the relationship between Lloyd George and himself was always “master and slave.”

In reality, however, there is no record of Orwell ever mentioning Jones by name. One Jones partisan has theorized that Muggeridge, who was picked by Orwell’s widow Sonia to be his official biographer, perhaps jealously covered up the evidence of Jones’ influence on Animal Farm. Or maybe the crucial papers were lost when Orwell’s home was blown up by a German V-1 buzz bomb in 1944.

But Jones and Orwell did share a literary agent, so the fictitious scene in which their mutual manager invites them to meet over lunch is not implausible. And Orwell’s sadness over learning from Jones of the failure of the socialist dream in the Soviet Union is moving.

Mr. Jones’ laborious Orwellian metaphor finally has a brilliant payoff when the peak moment of Duranty’s career—the 1933 banquet at the Waldorf-Astoria welcoming Soviet Foreign Minister Maxim Litvinov to diplomatic recognition by the FDR administration, at which Duranty was the de facto guest of honor, feted by both communists and capitalists—is set to Orwell’s narration of the last line of Animal Farm about the dinner party of men and pigs:

The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

There’s an old saying I just coined: “You can ignore the race war, but the race war won’t ignore you.” No matter how insulated you think you are, the people in this country who are dead-set on making everything about race will eventually reach your doorstep.

Hollywood, that most leftist of leftist towns where every white wears a BLM pin and conservative thought has long been banished, just learned the hard way that the race war awards no points for wokeness. Whites gotta go. And that includes woke whites. Because race wars aren’t about ideology but, well, race (as should be obvious from the name).

“Actors, writers and producers warn of ‘reverse racism’ in the film industry which has created a ‘toxic’ climate for anyone who is a white, middle-age man.” So said the headline in last week’s Daily Mail (because no local paper would dare touch the story). Yep—it’s official: If yer white, get outta site! (I also would’ve accepted “If yer white, yer presence is a blight” and “If yer white, to yer career say g’night”).

A revolution is under way. White actors are being fired. Edicts from studio bosses make it clear that only minorities—racial and sexual—can be given jobs. A new wave of what has been termed by some as anti-white prejudice is causing writers, directors and producers to fear they will never work again. One described the current atmosphere as “more toxic than Chernobyl,” with leading actors afraid to speak out amid concern they will be labeled racist. Dozens of producers, writers and actors have spoken to ‘The Mail’ on Sunday about the wave of “reverse racism” pulsing through the industry.

I know one of those people, and I can confirm that the paper is accurately reporting this story.

For whites, “their careers are pretty much over,” said one of the execs. Adding insult to injury, certain skilled whites are being asked to continue working behind the scenes as advisers—unpaid and uncredited—so that all those new nonwhite hires can appear more capable than they actually are.

The antiwhite blacklist is being carried out in the name of the “BIPOC” coalition: “Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.” As The New York Times explained last month, the term “BIPOC” is used primarily to pacify blacks, many of whom dislike the more generalized “people of color” label, because they feel it doesn’t give blacks an “individual identity” separate from Latinos, Injuns, and Asians. BIPOC makes clear that this is a coalition of BLACKS (first) and POCs (second).

There’s simmering rivalry in the acronym. Remember that; it’ll prove relevant. But first, the tale of the cancellation that wasn’t.

“Hispanics give Hollywood an easy out. Producers can cast women who are essentially white while still adhering to their pledge to only hire from the BIPOC pool.”

Lesly Kahn is one of the most influential and respected acting coaches in the business. She draws a lot of water in this town, and she never gives impractical advice. In leaked 2018 audio from one of Kahn’s classes, the esteemed teacher told a Jewish actress who had ambiguously “ethnic” features that she should pretend to be Latina for the sake of getting work. Kahn told the young student to change her name to “Rosa Ramirez” and go all ¡ay Chihuahua! at auditions:

The Latin could actually get you interviews for representation. Just the fact that your name is Rosa Ramirez is gonna get you a meeting…. So you might try it…. Go to the headshot shop and tell them you’re Latin. Wear something fucking red. Wear some fucking sparkly earrings. Just fucking come up with the most Latin name you can come up with…. Aren’t we allowed to change our names to whatever we want to change our names to? Make sure before you change it to Rosa Ramirez that there isn’t already a Rosa Ramirez in SAG, and if there is, we try a slightly different name.

Funny enough, there’s historical precedent for what Kahn suggested. There were so many popular “Latin” leading men and women in Hollywood’s early days, several non-Hispanic actors rose to great prominence by pretending to be spicy frijoles (for example, New York-born Jew Jacob Krantz, who found cinematic fame as “Latin lover” Ricardo Cortez).

So Kahn’s advice is time-tested…and very, very “problematic” in today’s climate. Yet if you haven’t heard about this controversy, there’s a reason. Although it made the trade papers for a few days, Kahn quickly “settled” with BIPOC groups by pledging to fund a special “Latino scholarship” for actors who meet the “one drop” rule, and the matter was quickly forgotten. Kahn is still one of the industry’s most successful and respected coaches, and no one, anywhere, utters as much as one word about the “racist” scandal she escaped unscathed.

Odd, isn’t it? People have been canceled over so much less. Why’d Kahn get let off the hook? The reason our benevolent BIPOC overlords let this one go is that they were petrified the publicity might popularize Kahn’s strategy. Better to reach a quick settlement and hush the whole thing up. It takes a lot to get BIPOCs to forgo vengeance. Most of them attack whites specifically for the joy that cancellation brings. But in Kahn’s case, the race warriors wanted those headlines gone.

Because her “fake Latina” scheme is like the deadly toxin from Three the Hard Way—a targeted danger to the “B” in BIPOC.

Black Americans are in a bind. Their suicidal support of open borders has made Hispanics the superpowerful Democrat voting bloc of the future. It’s no coincidence that the same Hispanics who’ve taken so many black jobs demand to be part of any black scheme to take jobs from whites. And blacks are in no position to say no to such a powerful demographic.

The problem is, “Hispanic” can be many things, including white. When blacks are forced to do the “BIPOC” dance, they’re entering into a coalition with people who can be and often are as white as, say, Cameron Diaz, Lynda Carter, and Raquel Welch. In other words, Hispanics can represent exactly that “Western standard of beauty” that blacks so despise and that the foreign filmgoer market craves. Hollywood bosses might be willing to bend to black extortion when it comes to firing whites from behind-the-scenes positions; they might be cool with only hiring directors who look like Jordan Peele. But they see genuine dollar losses when faced with the prospect of not hiring attractive white actresses.

Hispanics give Hollywood an easy out. Producers can cast women who are essentially white while still adhering to their pledge to only hire from the BIPOC pool. This is not a new problem; previous black attempts to team up with Hispanics in the fight to racially remake Hollywood have turned sour fast. Back in 2000, when a BIPOC coalition formed with the goal of strong-arming the TV networks into hiring more actors of color, the NAACP double-crossed its Hispanic partners behind their backs to forge a separate deal with the networks that favored only blacks, much to the chagrin of the “browns.”

That betrayal single-handedly tanked the 2000 BIPOC coalition.

In 2004, Angharad Valdivia, a professor of gender, media, and Latino studies at the University of Illinois, outlined the controversy in a paper titled “Latinas as Radical Hybrid”:

Latina actresses can play a broad range of characters, including black, white, and everything in between, thus providing casting directors with an easy way to foreground the few famous Latinas out there who by virtue of ambiguity can slip into these roles. This presents both an employment opportunity as well as the possibility of seeing more people of color on the screen and in print. However the second effect is that hybrid Latinas and ethnic ambiguity also provide mainstream culture with a chance to displace and replace blackness. Blackness once more gets pushed to the margin.

So this is an old issue, and one that frightens blacks worse than an open-water relay. Like most of current-day black America’s preoccupations, the goal isn’t just to be pro-black but antiwhite. Hispanics are “backdoor whites,” but there’s no way that blacks can keep them off the BIPOC team. In 2000 they could, but not now; not with twenty years of demographic change and pro-Hispanic Democrat pandering. In 2000, blacks could sell out their “partners.” Today? Blacks couldn’t win that fight.

So, blacks are nervous. As it is, enough black Americans have been in prison to know that Mexicans and whites have a habit of forming alliances if forced. Alienating Hispanics is bad strategy for blacks, especially as the politicians they robotically keep voting for continue to bring millions of them in.

The very last thing that blacks want “amplified” is that there are influential people like Lesly Kahn encouraging a deliberate blurring of the lines between “white Hispanic” and “white white.” Which is exactly why I’m recommending that very strategy to white actors. It’s a great way to keep working: Just change your name from Henderson to Hernandez, and talk about your dear old abuela from Jalisco. But even better, it’s a way to fuck with BLM, which is always its own reward. The goal would be to build up enough paranoia in blacks (who skew paranoid anyway) that they’d begin to view with suspicion every new “Hispanic” actresses allowed in by the BIPOC mafia. Make blacks demand that Hispanics “prove” their ethnicity. That’ll lead to discord and fracturing and maybe sink this coalition like the last one.

Still, manufacturing “crypto-Caucasians” is only a short-term solution. Long-term, white low-budget (non-Hollywood) filmmakers must realize two things: First, the blacklist is going to dump a shitload of white talent in their lap, skilled professionals shut out of the big leagues. And second, white beauty sells. It’s a commodity, and a sought-after one that’s often exploited by other racial and ethnic groups (and I say that as a member of one of those groups). Pretty girls are the great equalizer. Low-budget films can’t compete with the blockbusters in terms of special effects, car chases, interplanetary battles, or epic historical re-creations. But they can compete on absolutely equal ground when it comes to attractive actresses. I come from the world of low-budget film production, and that’s a basic fact. Pretty girls sell tickets better than car chases do.

In a previous column, I mocked entertainment-industry conservatives for their fetish of trying to create a “new Hollywood.” That’s a pipe dream and it always will be. But lots of individual filmmakers will learn to make some fine lemonade from the blacklist’s bitter fruit. Young men scrolling through Netflix on a Friday night are gonna get damn tired of movies starring women who look like Leslie Jones. Filmmakers who are willing to use white actresses as leads will be able to drain viewers from the BLM-approved mainstream crap.

If moviemakers who work outside the system play it smart, they can steal some valuable market share, as Hollywood gradually becomes yet another piece of pricey real estate burned to cinders by the irrational, pernicious, hate-filled extremists of BLM.

With the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse under nightly siege from violent radicals, and Portland’s police hard-pressed to protect it, President Trump sent in federal agents to secure the building.

The reaction from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi:

“The use of stormtroopers under the guise of law and order is a tactic that is not appropriate to our country in any way.”

Majority Whip James Clyburn endorsed the speaker’s equating of the U.S. law enforcement officers to Ernst Rohm’s SA thugs being deployed to do the dirty work of Adolph Hitler.

“Nobody asked the federal government to come into Portland. Nobody asked them to come to Seattle,” ranted Clyburn. “This is something that’s made up of whole cloth by this administration as an excuse for sending in stormtroopers to incite the people.”

Clyburn had earlier compared the U.S. officers sent to Portland to Heinrich Himmler’s Nazi secret police: “This president and this attorney general seem to be doing everything they possibly can to impose Gestapo activities on local communities, and this is what I’ve been warning about for a long time.”

His Gestapo comparison recalls Sen. Abe Ribicoff’s denunciation of the Chicago police of Mayor Richard J. Daley during the 1968 Democratic National Convention, after police clashed with radicals in Grant Park: “With George McGovern, we wouldn’t have Gestapo tactics in the streets of Chicago!”

What do the men and women of the FBI, DEA, ICE, DHS, CBP and the U.S. Marshals Service think of congressional leaders who equate them with Nazi stormtroopers and the Gestapo?

Outraged that Trump sent in federal agents to protect a building they had under siege for weeks, the Portland mob came out in even greater numbers and rioted through the weekend. Saturday night, there were solidarity riots with Portland in Seattle, Oakland, Austin, Richmond, and other cities.

Consider the depth of hatred of Trump that would cause leaders of the Democratic Party to compare U.S. law enforcement to Nazis.

Still, to date, no apologies have been heard.

“Consider the depth of hatred of Trump that would cause leaders of the Democratic Party to compare U.S. law enforcement to Nazis.”

Yet, as police are again being cursed and showered with debris, it is hard to see how this country reunites, and around what, no matter which party prevails in November.

In addition to the reigniting of protests and riots in urban centers there has come, in tandem with demands to “defund the police,” a surge in violent crime. Last week, Trump offered some staggering statistics:

“In New York City, over 300 people were shot in the last month alone, a 277 … percent increase over the same period of a year ago. Murders this year have spiked 27 percent in Philadelphia and 94 percent in Minneapolis compared to the same period in 2019.

“Perhaps no citizens have suffered more from the menace of violent crime than the wonderful people of Chicago … At least 414 people have been murdered in the city this year, a roughly 50 percent increase over last year. More than 1,900 people have been shot. These are numbers that aren’t even to be believed.”

As Black Lives Matter protests revive, ostensibly for greater justice for black folks, a vastly disproportionate number of victims of these urban shootings and killings are black, as are a disproportionate number of the criminals doing the shooting and killing.

The New York Times suggests that a new “Silent Majority” of 2020, unlike Richard Nixon’s Silent Majority of 1969, backs the protesters and their causes.

A dissent: While the country was disgusted and outraged at George Floyd’s death from that cop kneeling on his neck, and supported the protests and the calls for police reform, two months of leftist rampages have taken their toll.

When the protests turned into riots, when the looting and arson began, when the statues began to be pulled down, when the rampages went on and on for weeks and months after Floyd’s death, support began to wane. And it is dissipating quickly.

The country is not going to sit still for three more months of this. At some point soon, America is going to say: Enough is enough.

Moreover, Trump has turned a permanent presidential spotlight on a real outrage: The shootings and killings that go on year in and year out, and are now escalating, especially in poor black neighborhoods of major cities, and are accepted as normal by the same liberal Democrats who have misruled those cities for decades.

Trump has put this issue on the table for the indefinite future. And the ferocity of the liberal reaction testifies to the validity of the issue and the terror of the left that a consistent stand for law and order — and with the cops who guarantee it against the mobs that threaten it — might turn the tide in Middle America back to where it naturally resides.

The majority of Americans believe, and rightly so, that this is a good country. And they will eventually tune out radicals who visibly hate its heroes and history and have on offer nothing but their own inchoate rage.

There I was, sitting in Newswriting 101 class back in 1983 or so, long before they even did any of this on computers. The teacher—a brilliant female Phil Donahue lookalike whose insistence on journalistic accuracy bordered on the sadomasochistic—gave the students a cold set of facts and commanded us to write a news story about it. As she went around the room asking the students one by one to read their stories aloud, she stopped one aspiring journalist dead in his tracks before he could even finish his first sentence. He’d started off with:

“Tragedy struck the plush suburb of Chestnut Hill last night as—“

And that’s where she cut him off harshly. She told him that whether or not it was a tragedy is a matter of opinion, not of fact. And calling Chestnut Hill “plush” was also a bit of editorializing that had nothing to do with the fact that someone was murdered there last night.

This was the same teacher who, after I graduated and sent her a letter requesting a recommendation letter from her, marked all my letter’s typos in red, sent it back to me, and told me she’d write a recommendation letter once I sent her an error-free request.

They don’t make ‘em like that anymore. And man, do I wish they did.

She was the one who taught me very clearly to never say what someone thinks, only what they say, because they could be lying about what they actually think. Journalists nowadays all act as if they can read minds.

She also taught us the difference between a fact and an opinion, and unless you were writing what was clearly an opinion piece rather than a news story, you were never to share your own opinions or biases.

And not only don’t you share opinions, the only way to keep yourself from looking like an idiot is to never state anything as a fact, either. Nothing. You attribute all statements of either facts or opinions to others. You never make any claims. You always attribute claims to others. That way you’re never wrong.

You are perfectly free to QUOTE someone saying the most ridiculously emotional, subjective, unquantifiable, and unfalsifiable thing. Go ahead and let someone say that there is racial injustice in the USA. Hang that stupid sentiment on them.

The reason she taught us to do it this way is because journalism, at least as she saw it, was an attempt to get at the truth no matter how unpleasant the truth might be. The LAST thing journalism was supposed to do was push an ideology, because at that point it ceased to be journalism.

“Last week, the AP announced that they will capitalize the word ‘black’ but not the word ‘white’ when describing, um, black and white people.”

She spot-welded the idea into my skull that journalism should be approached not as a means to “stick it to the powerful”—because at that point, it’s not reporting, it’s advocacy—but as a science. Report on the powerful, report on the poor, report on everyone in between—but only report on what you can see and prove.

Maybe I was missing something all along, but back then the Associated Press seemed to see journalism the same way as my grey-haired butch journalism teacher did.

No more.

I wrote on this very site seven years ago about how the AP put the kibosh on the term “illegal immigrant” even though, if you wanted to be journalistic about it, the phrase described immigrants who were in the country illegally. At the time, an AP spokeschick explained that the term “dehumanizes” those it describes. They used the same alibi to justify why they were also forbidding the term “Islamist” to describe attacks that were done in the name of Islam. I also wrote in that article about how the AP claimed it refused to link to sites that were “racist,” although they failed to honor my request for a precise, rigorous, quantifiable, journalistic definition of the word “racist.”

When I recently checked on the AP’s official site, now I see they have an entire section devoted to something called “Racial Injustice.”

Injustice is not a quantifiable term and therefore has no place in journalism. The Associated Press has become Absolute Propaganda.

Last week, the AP announced that they will capitalize the word “black” but not the word “white” when describing, um, black and white people. The AP’s John Daniszewski attempted to justify the decision:

There was clear desire and reason to capitalize Black. Most notably, people who are Black have strong historical and cultural commonalities, even if they are from different parts of the world and even if they now live in different parts of the world. That includes the shared experience of discrimination due solely to the color of one’s skin.

There is, at this time, less support for capitalizing white. White people generally do not share the same history and culture, or the experience of being discriminated against because of skin color. In addition, we are a global news organization and in much of the world there is considerable disagreement, ambiguity and confusion about whom the term includes….

We agree that white people’s skin color plays into systemic inequalities and injustices, and we want our journalism to robustly explore those problems. But capitalizing the term white, as is done by white supremacists, risks subtly conveying legitimacy to such beliefs.

Don’t you wish you could sigh hard enough to knock these people off their feet without being charged with assault? This pasty-ass douchebag will only consider capitalizing “white” if it involves guilt-tripping white people about their alleged shared history of racial rapaciousness.

Another nugget of golden Newspeak from that article:

For more details, see the AP Stylebook’s race-related coverage guidance, which says in part: “Consider carefully when deciding whether to identify people by race. Often, it is an irrelevant factor and drawing unnecessary attention to someone’s race or ethnicity can be interpreted as bigotry.”

Generally, I think that’s a solid rule. But the AP didn’t hesitate to identify George Floyd as black and the cop who knelt on him as white, even though there is zero evidence that race had anything to do with the incident. Same goes with Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown and Eric Garner and Ahmaud Arbery and every case where there’s zero evidence of racial motive.

And again, without a hint of irony or self-awareness, the AP ululates:

Omissions and lack of inclusion can render people invisible and cause anguish.

You realize this is being said by the people who just refused to include whites along with Latinos, Blacks, Asians, and Jews as people who have enough of an important collective identity to capitalize their name…right? Do you? Hello?

As much as it pains me to beat them at their own game and invoke Godwin’s Law, I get great pleasure at causing the Associated Press pain and hastening their demise. Here’s a fact and not an opinion: The Associated Press allowed the Nazi Party access to their photo archives so they could use it for anti-Semitic propaganda.

Maybe they were never anything more than a glorified propaganda outlet.

But they deserve no more mercy—nor, for that matter, do they deserve capitalization. From now on, let’s all call them the “ap.”

The Week’s Most Incurable, Unendurable, and Uninsurable Headlines

A New York radio host who was born Lenard Larry McKelvey insists on calling himself “Charlamagne [sic] tha [sic] God,” which immediately brings up three problems. The first two involve the fact that he can’t spell, and the third implies that God wouldn’t be able to spell, either.

If we know anything about God, it’s that his grammar skills are impeccable.

But despite being fundamentally illiterate, Charlamagne is black. He talks about being black all the time. He talks about it so much, one might think it’s the only thing he ever thinks or cares about. And there are rich rewards in the modern era for being monomaniacally obsessed about race—provided that you’re black.

Nick Cannon is another black person whose sole “talent” consists of being black and talking about his blackness. Even though he’s worn “whiteface” to portray an idiotic white dude named “Conor Smallnut,” there are no penalties for bashing white people these days; instead, you get a promotion. Cannon’s estimated net worth is $30 million.

So far, so good. And then he had to go and mention Jews. Oops.

On a recent episode of his podcast Cannon’s Class, his guest was Professor Griff, formerly of the rap group Public Enemy. Cannon made the following utterly dehumanizing comments about white people:

When you’d have a person that has the lack of pigment, the lack of melanin, that they know that they will be annihilated….We’re soul brothers and sisters. That’s the melanin that connects us. So the people that don’t have it are a little … and I’m going to say this carefully … are a little less….So then they’re acting out of fear. They’re acting out of low self esteem. They’re acting out of a deficiency. So therefore the only way that they can act is evil. The only way they can … they have to rob, steal, rape, kill, and fight….They had to be savages. They had to be barbaric because they’re in these Nordic mountains. They’re in these rough torrential environments. So they’re acting as animals….So they’re the ones that are actually closer to animals. They’re the ones that are actually the true savages….And that’s even from the white nationalists to the white supremacy mentalities, to Donald Trump, himself, wanting to build walls. They’re trying to keep their, what they consider purity….It’s just been proven … what was it … National Geographic just put it out. By, what, 2050, every person will be a person of color.

He mentioned Jews, but not nearly in such demeaning terms. His huge thoughtcrime was to allege that black people are the real Jews:

And we talk about the six corporations, when we go as deep as the Rothschilds, centralized banking, the 13 families, the bloodlines that control everything even outside of America. When we talk about the people who, if we were truly the children of Israel, and we’re defining who the Jewish people are, because I feel like if we actually can understand that construct, then we can see that there is no hate involved. ….You can’t be anti-Semitic when we are the Semitic people, when we are the same people that who they want to be, that’s our birthright.

Guess which comments got him fired? Days after his comments, which were recorded last year but only aired a couple weeks ago, ViacomCBS issued the following statement:

[Viacom] condemns bigotry of any kind and we categorically denounce all forms of anti-Semitism…We have spoken with Nick Cannon about an episode of his podcast ‘Cannon’s Class’ on YouTube, which promoted hateful speech and spread anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. While we support ongoing education and dialogue in the fight against bigotry, we are deeply troubled that Nick has failed to acknowledge or apologize for perpetuating anti-Semitism, and we are terminating our relationship with him.

Commenting on his radio show The Breakfast Club about Cannon’s termination, Charlamagne opined thusly:

That’s what you can do when you have the power. … Listen, Nick is my guy. I hate it had to be him, but that’s what you can do when you have the power. And if there’s one thing Jewish people have showed us, it’s they have the power.

To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize. Clearly, you’re allowed to criticize white people. In fact, you’re not allowed to NOT criticize white people.

Sometimes the only incentive for reading mainstream news stories is spotting exactly where they’ve mangled the narrative. A Google search of MSN.com yields over 60,000 results for the phrase “peaceful protesters.” In other words, all the smashing and looting and burning and raping and murdering that’s been consuming the nation since late May involves peaceful people seeking a peaceful solution to quantifiable and scientifically undeniable social problems. It’s only the right-wingers who pull “stunts” and seek “attention.”

“Can we just fast-forward to 2021 already?”

Thus, when a pair of black Republican Christian women were recently arrested for pouring black paint all over the giant yellow Black Lives Matter mural that’s been painted on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, MSN referred to them as “right-wing gadflies…who have pulled similar stunts before.” The women, Bevelyn Beatty, 29, and Edmee Chavannes, 39, scream about Jesus and abortion, even though they live together and appear to be childless.
Every reader is challenged to find a single instance over the past 10 years of MSN.com referring to left-wing gadflies who pull stunts for attention. You won’t be able to do it.

The California Faculty Association claims to represent nearly 30,000 educators in a state that is filled with natural beauty and human ugliness. The union recently put out an eight-page document with the unwieldy title of “California Faculty Association statement of anti-racism and social justice demands in the wake of anti-black racism, violence, and murder.” It’s highly informative for no other reason than to illustrate that modern education has nothing to do with education and everything to do with indoctrination:

George Floyd’s public execution is shocking, but not surprising given the persistence of anti-Black racism and white supremacy that dehumanizes Black people. It is one in a long chain of similar transgressions and murders, most recently including Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, and people are taking to the streets because the United States has failed to address this. CFA is a union representing faculty in the California State University System, one that is dedicated to anti-racism and social justice. As scholar activists, we have an obligation to address the structural racism that shapes policing in our society and that resulted in the murder of George Floyd. It is not enough to condemn this public execution that calls lynching to mind. Against the backdrop of a pandemic that does discriminate, resulting in disproportionate deaths to Black people, disproportionate economic burdens to Chicanx/Latinx people, decimation of Native/Indigenous people, and acts of violence and hatred against Asian Pacific Islander communities, we must take this opportunity to call on our leaders to not only condemn racism and white supremacy, but to announce programs to enact systemic change. In the coming days, we will issue a broader statement to highlight our anti-racism and social justice campaign and invite your participation.

George Floyd? Are you talking about the guy who told Minneapolis police that he was foaming at the mouth as the result of a self-administered drug enema? Or are you “educators” completely uneducated about what actually happened there?
In case they didn’t drive home the point that their only “educational” goal was to demonize whites, CFA Vice President Sharon Elise tossed a cherry atop the Hate Sundae:

The US is a racialized society based on white supremacy where opportunities, resources, power and human rights are structured by race to privilege whiteness, one where race structures disadvantages such as poverty, barriers to opportunity and power, and failure to recognize humanity, resulting in a racial hierarchy.

The group also demands the enactment of Assembly Constitutional Amendment 5, which mandates a return to affirmative action policies in the California university system. They say blacks deserve free tuition to reverse the decades-long trend of declining enrollments amongst Black, Native, and Indigenous students in the CSU and other higher education institutions.”

They didn’t say a word about the fact that in California, Asians are only 10 percent of the population yet represent 40 percent of undergrads. That’s because California currently uses a merit-based admissions system, and Asians perform sparklingly well on standardized tests.

You can blame white supremacy for that.

In case you were holding out for further evidence that our current political system is one of anarcho-tyranny, look no further than the fact that the chubby St. Louis couple who pointed guns at “peaceful protestors” who’d smashed through a gate and were parading through their neighborhood have been charged with a felony weapons count for aiming their guns at the invaders.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner has charged Mark and Patricia McCloskey but to our knowledge has not charged any of the peaceful protestors who were trespassing in a private neighborhood. When people criticized her decision to charge the McCloskeys, she said it reminded her of the KKK.

Can we just fast-forward to 2021 already?

Communism is an ideology that with tremendous appeal to fanatics and blind followers, which is why it’s so intensely opposed to religion—it sees it as competition.

The Christian Post reports that Chinko-Communist authorities are harassing Christian villagers in the massive country’s rural hinterlands, busting into their homes and demanding they remove pictures of Jesus Christ and replace them with photos of Mao and whoever their current leader guy is.

The Chinese Communist Party has announced this is all part of a “Sinicization” program designed to shunt people with uncontrollable fanatical impulses away from Christianity and toward Marxism. After all, both belief systems say we’re all equal and that it’s cool to be poor.

Reports also say that authorities are threatening to withhold welfare payments to avowed Christians. One woman claims they cut off her measly $28-a-month pension when she thanked God rather than the Communist Party after receiving her prior installment. An unnamed preacher in a northern Chinese village said, “All impoverished households in the town were told to display Mao Zedong images. The government is trying to eliminate our belief and wants to become God instead of Jesus.”

This goes against everything that science, medicine, and logic have taught us. Everyone knows God is too tall to be Chinese.

If you’re old enough to remember the 1970s, you’d recall that a firm plank in the leftist political program was known as “ZPG”—Zero Population Growth. An overpopulated planet was considered the world’s most imminent catastrophe. And then they realized where all the population growth was occurring and concluded that it would be racist to even make it an issue, so they shut up about it.

A report published in The Lancet suggests we may no longer have to worry about overpopulation whether it’s racist to worry or not. Researchers at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation have crushed the bodies and come to the conclusion that the world is headed for a “jaw dropping” population crash.

In 1950, the average woman squeezed out 4.7 children, and by all accounts it was that seven-tenths of a child whose birth was the least painful. By the year 2100, the global fertility rate will drop to 1.7 children per child, which is a sub-replacement rate. The populations of both Italy and Japan will drop by more than half. And although world population is expected to peak around the year 2064, it will shave nearly a billion people off that total by the year 2100. Exactly how that “shaving” occurs is yet to be determined, but it will not be pretty. This is shaping up to be the worst century in world history.

The lockdown and its enforced boredom have been replaced by a consistent feeling of loss, my nephew by marriage Hansie Schoenburg, age 33, from a brain tumor, and my close friend Shariar Bachtiar, 72, most likely by his own hand. Hansie was tall, blond, a Yale grad, and extremely handsome. Recently married, he died surrounded by his family.

Shariar was the Persian Boy, who as a slender, bright-eyed 6-year-old who spoke not a word of English was dispatched from Persia to an English school known for its cold rooms and strict rules. The Persian Boy learned early to do without parents. The bitter irony of their death was that Hansie willed himself to live these last fifteen years, whereas Shariar had had enough. Unlike many newly rich, vulgar Iranians running around London’s clubs back in the ’70s, Shariar Bachtiar came from an old and good family that had seen better days when the Shah’s father grabbed power in the ’20s. A young Shariar was first noticed by the last Shah’s twin sister Aschraf in Tehran, as was a young Taki in the South of France. The Persian and I did not know each other, but we sort of got together when the predatory Aschraf invited me to dinner. I did a Usain Bolt and ran for the hills, Shariar obeyed the royal command.

I never allowed him to forget it, that’s for sure. The truth is, sixty years ago I was sneaking around with Soraya, the Shah’s beautiful ex-wife who was divorced by him because she could not have children. Soraya warned me to keep things to myself, otherwise the Shah’s secret police would do me in. (He was very jealous.) The Persian Boy, in the meantime, did not stay long with the emperor’s twin. He loved beautiful, tall English girls, and he and I got our stories straight and it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship, pardon the pun.

“Hansie’s life was Schubert’s ‘Nocturne,’ Shariar’s was a Cole Porter tune.”

What followed was what I can best describe as a long period of permanent adolescence. The Persian cut a wide swath among English debs, Trinnys and India Janes galore, because back then he was loaded, very slim, short, and very handsome in an Oriental way. He had taken to England like the proverbial duck to H2O, dominated by English school impressions, mostly fair play on the sporting field. I have met many athletes, but no one as naturally gifted as this prime suspect for having sand kicked in his face by the beach bully. No sand ever touched him. He was a terrific all-rounder in cricket and a very good tennis player. I played against him when I could still hit the ball and he was tough, never giving pace and returning everything. He was also known as the man who never slept.

Always in love, Cyril Connolly’s The Unquiet Grave comes to mind, and the dread symbol of the pram in the hall never to blemish the Persian’s household. The Persian Boy became a fixture in the chic nightclubs of the time, Annabel’s and Tramp, always escorting beautiful young women, always on the lookout for more. He would be the last to leave but up early for tennis or cricket practice, his afternoons spent playing bridge or teaching the game, his weekends in grand country houses captaining cricket teams, never out, taking wicket after wicket.

As the years went by his income shrank and he was forced to downsize. Zac and Ben Goldsmith came to the rescue. He became a member of the family, and Shariar returned the favor with more love for the Goldsmiths than even for his own brood, of which he never talked. When Ben’s lovely young daughter died in a freak accident, I rang the Persian in order not to bother the grieving Ben. Shariar was in a terrible state and crying over the telephone.

I suppose childhood distress does not necessarily ennoble or strengthen a person for later on in life, but in the Persian’s case I think it did. He never complained about reduced circumstances and continued his self-destructive ways until the end. (I admired that.) But licensed hedonism takes its toll. Still, even when over 70, he captained Ben Goldsmith’s Cannwod Cupcakes cricket team and was the best player among 20- and 30-year-olds. As the world became brasher, his became untenable. Ben Goldsmith aside, his closest friends were the Tim Hanbury and Harry Beaufort families. Tim, Harry, Shariar, and I would always take the main roundtable at San Lorenzo, and invariably I would begin a long soliloquy aimed at the females of our table on how we Greeks had made mincemeat of the barbaric Persians and had even gone over there and taught them some manners under Alexander the Great. It was a ritual that may have bored Timmy and Bunter, but not the Persian Boy. He would look at our girls between puffs of his ever-present roach, flash a wintry smile, and roll his eyes upwards—and they would invariably take his side against the Greek bully. He made up for losing the wars by beating the poor little Greek boy to the punch 2,000 years later.

His worldliness was marked by courtesy and sweetness, but his life was one of déjà vu, bound to end sadly. Hansie’s life was Schubert’s “Nocturne,” Shariar’s was a Cole Porter tune.

A friend of my wife’s wants to tidy her house before she dies. As she has not done so for forty years so far, it is unlikely that she will succeed. In like fashion, I want to catalog my books before I die, but I have about as much chance of succeeding.

I am an accumulator rather than a collector of books, but it is nevertheless true that there are a number of them—perhaps a thousand—that are of some, though not enormous, worth. My estate will be just the kind that booksellers relish: The grieving relict will be delighted to get rid of the books that she has secretly disliked all her married life, and will be happy if the bookseller agrees to take them off her hands, gratis. Thanks to him, there will be some space at last in the house. If she is exceptionally lucky, he might give her yardage, that is to say a tiny amount per yard of shelf space occupied by books. With his practiced eye, he will have observed that every yard or two there is a book worth several hundred dollars.

What does it really matter? One is the temporary guardian of many of one’s possessions rather than the outright owner of them, and if the books find someone who is interested in them after my death, so much the better. What I really fear is that, books having declined in cultural salience, they will eventually be thrown away, like ordinary household rubbish, rather than disbursed to people who want them.

Going through them—or rather a tiny fraction of them—the other day, I came across a first edition of Matthew Arnold’s New Poems, in which his most famous poem, “Dover Beach,” was first published. This book was given to Lucy Brock by F.S.H. in September 1869 (two years after its publication): I know nothing of the recipient or the donor, though I suspect that it was the former who made two small and very neat annotations in pencil, the first being a quotation from Jean-Jacques Rousseau, or so it is claimed: Je sens que j’ai vécu (“I feel that I have lived”), opposite a line in a poem titled “Early Death and Fame.”

“The human mind hates a vacuum, and politics rushes in to fill the mental space that religious belief once occupied.”

Arnold, who in fact had another nineteen years to live when this book was published, but who entirely lost his poetic inspiration afterward, was obsessed with two subjects: death and the loss of meaning consequent upon the erosion of religious faith. He ascribed to this the importance that Nietzsche ascribed to it, though in a much less hysterical fashion; that is to say more with regret than with rejoicing or belief that anything better could emerge.

He was an uneven poet—as Somerset Maugham said, only a very mediocre writer is always at his best—and I think he managed only a few memorable poems, but he is nevertheless very pertinent to our current situation. Faith in something is necessary for people not to be entirely bound up in their own petty affairs, but of course faith in something is not in itself necessarily a good thing, since people can perfectly well have faith in what is evil, and indeed often have.

In a poem titled “Pis-aller” (“As a Last Resort”), the second stanza reads:

Nay, look closer into man!
Tell me, can you find indeed
Nothing sure, no moral plan
Clear, prescribed, without your creed?

The creed to which Arnold refers is, of course, the Christian creed, but might also be any religious belief.

The man to whom this question is addressed returns an answer in the last of the three stanzas:

‘No. I nothing can perceive;
‘Without that, all’s dark for men.
‘That, or nothing, I believe.’

To the alternative between the religious creed or belief in nothing, the latter bringing in its train limitless immorality consequent upon the meaninglessness of life, he, Arnold, says in the last line:

For God’s sake, believe it then!

Arnold’s exclamation, For God’s sake, does not imply an actual belief in the existence of God, it is an exclamation that any atheist might use. What he means is that it would be far better for the person, and for society, to believe in the creed, even if it were false, than to believe in nothing at all.

But people, or at least reflective people, will not believe in nothing at all; they will find something to believe in, almost certainly something worse than the creed to which Arnold refers. He therefore calls upon people to make an effort to believe it, though whether you can really believe something because it would be good for both you and society to believe it might be questioned. At best, you might pretend to believe it, and certainly I have known philosophers who acted as if they believed in the creed but whom I strongly suspected did not really do so. They were really setting an example rather than expressing a belief, because they thought that without religious observance, society would fall apart.

The human mind, like nature, hates a vacuum, and politics rushes in to fill the mental space that religious belief once occupied. In “Dover Beach,” Arnold says:

The sea of faith
Was once, too, at the full and round earth’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furl’d…

But this is so no longer:

But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long withdrawing roar…

Addressing a lover in these circumstances, the loss of faith, Arnold continues:

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain…

The result of this loss of faith is that

we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

Where ignorant armies clash by night: Is that not a summary of our present sociopolitical situation? America has ceased to be different from the rest of the Western world in remaining religious, with the result that politics is the new religion. It has removed transcendence and salvation from the private and personal sphere to the public realm, where it can lead only to conflict. I say this as someone who has no religious belief.