The Week’s Most Cheering, Jeering, and Happy New Yearing Headlines
Poor Will Smith, doomed to a career bookended by plaintively wailing, “How come they don’t want me, man?”
Smith’s reportedly in deep distress over the failure of his latest “Oscar bait” film, Emancipation (can you really “bait” an Academy that’s banned you?). According to reports, Smith sees the film’s disastrous numbers as proof that audiences haven’t forgiven him for slapping Chris Rock, though far more likely it’s just a matter of people not wanting to sit through another crappy “noble slave” film. That said, it surely didn’t help that the star proved himself most ignoble in real life by decking a comedian to please a domineering wife with Charlie Brown’s head but none of his humility.
In Emancipation, Smith plays a slave who flees his plantation after the overseer serves cold fries for lunch (it’s a black history origin story). Battling slave-catchers and a dastardly house negro, Emancipation is like Django Unchained if shot with the pretentious faux earnestness of Schindler’s List. Smith’s character is loosely based on a real slave named “Whipped Peter,” whose scarred back was photographed for abolitionist propaganda. Since Smith has been figuratively whipped by the bowling ball in a Gaultier gown he calls a wife, the casting choice was appropriate.
If it’s true that Smith’s Oscar slap has come back at him to sink his career, his current film should be called Boomerango Unchained.
Other than the photo of Whipped Peter, Emancipation has little to do with real life. Some have criticized Smith’s character as anachronistic—a brilliant slave engineer—and audiences have had trouble with the climax, in which the character evades his oppressors by inventing the traffic light and setting it on permanent red at the bayou entrance.
Slaver 1: “Hang-dangit, we been waitin’ fer ten minutes now. When’s that dern light gonna change?”
Slaver 2: “Maybe we should just go.”
Slaver 1: “Hell, no! You wanna git a ticket? We’ll wait…it’s gotta change eventually.”
12 QUEERS A SLAVE
At least gay congressman-elect George Santos never claimed to be descended from black slaves. And that’s likely the only lie he didn’t tell. Santos lied about having a degree from Baruch College; turns out he never went to any college (but he did see How High three times, which counts as a degree in California). He also lied about having “clerked at Goldman Sachs” (he meant to say “jerked Gary Oldman’s sacks”).
But by far Santos’ worst fib was the one about being a Jew whose grandparents were European Holocaust survivors. That’s the kind of falsehood that makes Rachel Dolezal go, “Daaaaaamn.” And it’s one to be especially avoided in New York.
In reality, Santos is just a run-of-the-mill Catholic Latino whose family came from Brazil.
When Santos’ Holocaust lie was exposed by the NY Times last week—prompting the log-crappin’ Republican to soil himself in shock—he responded by telling the press that when he said he was “Jewish,” he meant “Jew-ish,” as in, “like a Jew, but not” (yes, he really said that). He also argued that he never claimed his grandparents escaped the Holocaust; he said they fled the Olácaust to get away from overbearing Brazilians constantly saying “hello.”
In retrospect, reviewing Santos’ long trail of lies, there were obvious tip-offs that he’s a deceitful Hispanic pretending to have connections to the Holocaust. He claimed that his grandfather had been interned at Ay Chihuaschwitz and his grandmother at Sobibarrio. He cited as his favorite Holocaust author “Ese Wiesel,” and he bragged that on one of his Israel trips, he tagged the Wailing Wall for the Latin Kings.
Too bad no eagle-eyed journalists caught any of that until after the election. In fact, the media stayed mute about the Santos bombshells until after he won.
There’s a movement to stop House Republicans from seating Santos as the new Congress convenes. Silence from GOP leadership on the matter comes not from stonewalling but from the fact that all GOP House members have also soiled themselves in shock over the fact that for once mainstream media election-year journalistic malpractice worked in their favor.
A spokesman for the MSM apologized, saying, “Look, we were distracted. Taylor Lorenz was crying about misogynist tweets. We had to prioritize!”
RECTUM? IT NEARLY KILLED ’IM
How bad are the French at fighting wars? So bad that they continue to take casualties from a war that the other side lost more than a hundred years ago.
Last week an 88-year-old Frenchman walked into a hospital in Toulon with a World War I German artillery shell stuck up his rectum. Why did he have a relic from the war to (rear)end all wars inserted up his butt?
According to the hospital, it was something the proctogenarian did “for sexual pleasure.”
It stands to reason that any nation that actually likes Jerry Lewis films would be into other freaky crap as well.
The bomb squad was called, but it was determined that the shell is an antique. And thus was born the most uncomfortable episode of Antiques Roadshow ever.
“Well, monsieur, I’d put the value of that shell at around 2,000€, if not for the fact that it’s up your ass.”
Eventually, doctors removed the shell from Louis Sphincteur’s behind. When news of the objet d’arse made its way to the U.S., a now-jobless Sam Brinton found inspiration in the story: Security cameras can’t catch you walking out of an airport with a stolen item if they can’t see where you put it!
Word has it that Hollywood is eyeing the Toulon incident for a big-budget period piece, All Quiet on the Western Rump.
Word also has it that Richard Gere has volunteered to star for free.
SNOW MISER? MORE LIKE SNOW NAZI!
A big-freeze “bomb cyclone” is wreaking havoc across the U.S., sowing destruction in states from Colorado to New York. Sixty fatalities have already been recorded; people dying in their homes and cars, air travel at a standstill, cities crippled as streets become impassable and water pipes are frozen solid.
So of course the real villain is racism!
According to United Nations “racism rapporteur” Tendayi Achiume (a rather grotesque female-identifying figure who resembles Meshach Taylor in the Mannequin films), not only is climate change racist, but so are attempts to fight it. According to Achiume (a name that, when spoken aloud, is almost always met with “gesundheit”), “green solutions to the climate crisis” like “electric cars and renewable energy” are “racist” because only racism causes climate change and therefore any solution not “centered” on fighting racism will perpetuate the problem.
Achiume teaches at UCLA, but that’s only because she found Oberlin too conservative.
Achiume isn’t clear about how racism influences weather, but knowing the climate alarmist obsession with flatulence, it might have something to do with black people farting too much. Although considering their diet, that’s more likely a problem for Mexicans.
According to Achiume, the climate crisis will only end once “people of color” get “reparations for slavery and colonialism.” And wouldn’t you know it, black folks in Buffalo are working on that as we speak. With the city so frozen that authorities are telling residents to stay indoors at all costs, doughty reparations-seekers have been breaking into retail shops to steal “life-saving necessities” like flat-screens.
Kind of calls into question the idea that blacks need mail-in voting because going to a polling place is too taxing for them.
Still, one must sympathize with Buffalo’s black residents; it’s easy to lose morale—indeed, to lose hope itself—in a land in which all fries are cold.
RETURN OF THE SPREAD-I
If the Chinese are going to put the world through another round of Covid, could there at least be a ban on dancing nurse videos this time? And if not, then maybe it’s preferable for China to skip straight to the Taiwan invasion and global nuclear war. Because frankly, if it’s a choice between being inundated with those asinine videos again or being vaporized, most people would likely choose the latter.
It turns out China’s “zero Covid” policy was a bust. Hard to believe that dealing with a pandemic by welding people into their homes and starving them was a bad idea.
Are the Chinese really that smart, or does it just seem that way on standardized tests because the curve is so badly thrown off by American students?
By employing a policy of brutal isolation of its citizens after having already spread Covid to the world, the Chinese government left its people with no natural immunity for when the disease inevitably came around after going around.
So now the CCP is facing a new Covid surge, even as it abandons “zero Covid” and allows its subjects to travel freely again. All that’s needed to solidify the January 2020 time loop is for Nancy Pelosi to urge Americans to greet the incoming Chinese disease-carriers at the airport with hugs and kisses.
As the world braces for the return of disease-spreading Chinese tourists, looking at the bright side that at least people whose language consists of one long, shrill vowel sound don’t spit as much when they talk as those who use consonants, remember that 2023 isn’t an election year, meaning that Democrats will welcome renewed reasons for mask mandates, school closures, lockdowns, and other unpopular leftist obsessions.
If only the Biden administration can find a way to end Title 42, America can be inundated with disease-carriers from all sides!
So have a Happy New Year, but a wary one.
Democrats are never more dangerous than in an off year.
For all of us who scribble for publication, at however low a level, all activities other than writing take on at most a secondary importance. Even meals, necessary as they no doubt are, can come to seem unwanted interruptions of the real business of life, which is writing. We are apt to forget that reading in general, and of our work in particular, is not of the same importance to 99.99 percent of the population, including that part of it that has great power over our lives, as it is to us. It is a humbling thought (humbling, that is, for scribblers) that in many small towns it is easier to find an electronic cigarette or have oneself tattooed than to buy a book.
And now comes another blow to our self-esteem, that mental characteristic that is the most fundamental of all modern human rights. My fellow scribbler in this august journal, Mr. Charles Norman, alerted me recently to a site that, through artificial intelligence, will produce a coherent and even cogent short essay on almost any subject. He illustrated the site’s powers by requesting of it a Marxist-Leninist critique of Winnie-the-Pooh, citing the work of the late Marxist historian and ferocious snob Eric Hobsbawm. The resulting paragraphs, generated in a matter of seconds, were better written than many a contemporary PhD student could manage, and in fact approximated what I myself would have written if I had been asked to produce something on the same subject.
I then tried a Marxist analysis of Lewis Carroll’s “The Walrus and the Carpenter.” With true Marxist lack of humor, the answer came back almost instantaneously that, among other things, the oysters in the poem suffered from false consciousness, insofar as they were duped by the Walrus and the Carpenter to go for a walk with them in the belief that their exploiters meant well by them.
I could not resist asking the site for a critique of my own good self, and in a matter of seconds I had what I thought was a perfectly reasonable, though ultimately mistaken (of course), criticism of my work, namely that it was founded on impression and anecdote rather than on serious statistical research. I use stereotypes, and it is impossible to tell whether or not the stories that I tell are true. These are precisely the criticisms that I would make myself were I to criticize my work from the outside, so to speak. The fact that I can defend myself from these criticisms is neither here nor there: The astonishing, and slightly alarming, thing is that the AI site should be able to generate a perfectly reasonable criticism, expressed clearly, concisely, and coherently, in a matter of seconds. Elegance and wit are missing from it, but perhaps (no, almost certainly) they will be possible one day, added like salt or pepper to a dish, according to whether or not the framer of the question wants them added.
Being astonished is not the same as being pleased, however. Could it be that writers will one day be as redundant as, say, wheelwrights or town criers? And then, thinking about the question from the purely selfish point of view, what would I do instead? For the moment I can console myself that no mere computer can equal my style, but we are as yet in the infancy of artificial intelligence.
Redundancy will not be the fate of writers alone: Painters, opera singers, pianists, doctors, in fact everyone, will be redundant, just as Isaac Asimov once predicted. All that will be left to us is to distract ourselves as best we can; but when distraction becomes the whole business of life, boredom of a special kind results.
I have long thought that entertainment, or rather the ubiquity of entertainment, is one of the greatest causes of boredom in the modern world. And boredom is itself a much underestimated state of mind in the production of human misconduct and therefore of misery.
The reason that too great a proportion of entertainment in a person’s life leads to boredom (though it is not easy always to decide whether the chicken of boredom comes before the egg of entertainment) is that reality can rarely complete with it for raw stimulation and excitement. Reality, the real world, moves very slowly by comparison with the world as depicted in entertainment, but people for the moment have still to enter the real world from time to time; they cannot lead wholly virtual lives.
When they enter the real world, therefore, they find it dull and boring by comparison with their entertainments; it takes mental discipline and training to find the real world of interest in an age of distraction.
My patients often asked me how they could find themselves, always on the assumption that what was there to be found was like the Cullinan Diamond, that is to say of inestimable value; to which I replied that it was much more important for them to be able to lose themselves, that is lose themselves in an active interest that engaged their mind. The problem with my sage advice was that I could never find an answer to the question that they asked, naturally enough after I had given the advice, namely “How do I do that?”
If someone has reached adulthood without having developed the kind of interest that I advised, can he then develop it on prescription, because he thinks it would do him good? There is a slight analogy here with religious faith: It is all very well saying, as many do, that religious belief is consolatory and has beneficial effects both individually and socially, but if you cannot give assent to its doctrines, these benefits are all beside the point. Religion observed only for its psychological or social benefits and not for its truths cannot survive for very long. Its benefits rely upon belief that its doctrines are true.
Here it is time to take cognizance of what artificial intelligence says about me: His [i.e., my] views can be seen as simplistic and lacking in nuance.
When, however, I change the word “critique” of my work to “strengths,” I read “He is known for his clear and engaging writing style…and has a wide range of interests [that] gives him a unique perspective.”
As yet, it takes human intelligence, as I hope it always will, to decide which of these assessments is the more pertinent.
Theodore Dalrymple’s latest book is Ramses: A Memoir, published by New English Review.
I can vividly recall driving along the coast of Baja California in late 1996 a few days after being diagnosed with cancer, feeling sorry for myself about my impending death.
Suddenly, I came around a bend and there was the damnedest thing I’ve ever seen: a vast old-fashioned ocean liner with four smokestacks. On closer inspection, it proved not to be docked in the Pacific as I’d initially assumed, but instead was up on the cliff in a giant tank of water.
Eventually I realized that this must be the set for James Cameron’s much-derided and vastly over-budget film spectacle Titanic. I tried to scoff like everybody else had, but the magnificence of his folly overrode my cynical instincts. At some point it then struck me that if Cameron could carry out something this crazily outsize, I really ought to be able to muster the willpower to get to my all doctor’s appointments and beat cancer.
So, yeah, I’m still here and I’m still a James Cameron fan.
Granted, when I finally saw Titanic in 1998, I didn’t like it that much, although I admired how Cameron could somehow combine his ultra-masculine love of giant machines crashing to catastrophic ruin with his profound understanding of teenage girls’ emotions. But I definitely appreciate the concept of James Cameron.
That said, the fundamental problem with Cameron’s Avatar franchise, which has made a respectable but not overwhelming return this month with its first sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, is that, xenophobic as this may sound in the current year, its 10-foot-tall alien heroes are ugly.
These days, we are constantly lectured about how our instincts about who is and who isn’t good-looking are deplorable social constructs. But still…Cameron’s Na’vi are hard to look at for three solid hours.
In this sequel, the natives of Pandora comprise about 95 percent of the movie because the human (a.k.a. American, a.k.a. white) bad guys have transitioned into Na’vi themselves through genetic engineering or virtual reality or whatever in order to better hunt down the leader of the Pandorans, Jake Sully. He used to be a human himself, but in the first film he transitioned via species-affirming care into a big blue space monkey for reasons that no doubt were explained in detail in the 2009 original—Cameron is a hard sci-fi guy, not a fantasist, so he comes up with technical explanations for everything—but which I’ve completely forgotten.
The original Avatar, despite breaking Cameron’s own record that he set with Titanic a dozen years before for the biggest domestic box office haul, is a famously forgettable flick. Even in an era when any kind of cinematic nonsense can inspire a fan cult, few Avatar geeks emerged. How come?
For one reason, Avatar was a bit of a fluke. Movies tend to be a countercyclical good that do better at the box office during hard times because they are cheaper than most other forms of entertainment, such as major league sports events. So, by the end of 2009 after the first full year of the Great Recession, folks felt like they deserved to take the family to an event movie. And Avatar, with Cameron’s breakthroughs in 3-D technology and terrarium-like subject matter designed to show off his effects, was definitely an event.
Of course, movie theater audiences shortly afterward got bored with 3-D. And 3-D never much made the transition to home viewing, which is where nerds are nurtured by being able to watch the same movie over and over.
But a less mentionable reason for the lack of long-term interest in Avatar is that the movie isn’t all that pleasurable, in part because few folks found the blue pituitary cases terribly appealing to look at.
It could be that the homeliness of the humanoids is Cameron’s fault, that another auteur might have come up with a somewhat human-looking extraterrestrial that us earthlings would have found beautiful to gaze upon with fond regard.
On the other hand, has anybody else accomplished that yet? Sure, you could design completely non-humanoid aliens that look like lovely galactic ocelots or whatever. But once you start down the path of conjuring up something with the basic structure of Homo sapiens, you are at risk of winding up in an unsightly valley in which any deviation from our norm looks like a defective subhuman.
For instance, Zoe Saldaña is a lovely lady in earthling form, but as an alien in Avatar and Guardians of the Galaxy, she’s surprisingly hard on the eyes. Yet, after all, evolution molded us to enjoy looking at the fittest examples of our own species, so imagined aliens tend to set off our innate alarms about birth defects.
Perhaps many people can sit through one showing of a humanoid alien, but not multiple ones. Interestingly, another pro-alien science fiction movie that was a colossal box office hit but has failed to win over an enduring audience is Steven Spielberg’s 1982 E.T.
Another problem that has gotten worse for the Avatar franchise in the thirteen years that Cameron has fiddled with this film and its three partly completed subsequent sequels is that Native Americans have fallen further out of fashion.
The basic idea for the 2009 film was more or less lifted from Robert A. Heinlein’s 1948 juvenile sci-fi novel Space Cadet, in which the young soldier heroes help the environmentally sensitive natives of verdant Venus repel a rapacious Terran mining company. Similarly, Frank Herbert’s 1965 sci-fi best-seller Dune depicted the revolt of the indigenous Fremen, led by an aristocratic Lawrence of Arabia-like outsider, against a mining operation.
But the Na’vi—i.e., Native Americans—aren’t as interesting to audiences as they were in 2009, much less in 1965 or 1948. Lately, natives seem kind of nativist. One 2022 exit poll suggested that American Indians may have even committed that gravest crime against humanity imaginable: voting Republican. Judging from op-eds, the United States of the Future isn’t going to return to taciturn American Indians, it’s going to be taken over by loquacious Asian Indians, who really don’t care about the environment.
Avatar: The Way of Water starts out tediously back in the same old forest as the first movie. Most science fiction assumes that planets are homogenous. Dune’s Arrakis, for instance, is a desert planet and nothing but a desert, while in Heinlein novels, Venus is always an Amazonian rain forest swarming with tropical life and Mars a Tibet-like cold desert inhabited by a few wise elders.
But then Jake and his turquoise family have to flee for shelter from the evil earthlings to an island paradise where they are taken in by the aquamarine sea people, who have evolved broad tails to power them through the water. (I suspect this second race of Na’vi is inspired in part by the nomadic seafaring Bajau people of Southeast Asia, who have evolved larger spleens to allow them to stay underwater longer as they dive for shellfish.)
Once Avatar: The Way of Water moves out of the shady woods onto the sunny ocean, the film becomes a fun Swiss Family Robinson-style adventure. The director of Titanic has spent a lot of time out at sea—I’ve often joked that Cameron, the explorer of the Marianas Trench, would less prefer to be a science fiction movie director than to be a science fiction hero himself like Jules Verne’s Captain Nemo—and he’s extraordinarily good at filming on and in water, which has often been a budget buster, such as with Jaws and Waterworld.
On the other hand, Cameron cares less than most famous directors about casting. Sure, in Aliens Cameron inherited Sigourney Weaver from Ridley Scott’s Alien. And Titanic featured a winsome Kate Winslet and a young Leonardo DiCaprio, who surprised me in 1998 by proving a major league leading man.
But Cameron has often succeeded more by extracting surprisingly strong performances from limited actors: most legendarily Arnold Schwarzenegger in Cameron’s two Terminator movies, but also Tom Arnold in True Lies. On the other hand, even Cameron can’t pull a genie out of a lamp every time. The two Avatar films suffer from Cameron’s tendency toward indifferent or overconfident casting, such as Perth-raised Sam Worthington as a discount Mel Gibson. And whichever pudgy Australian he hired to play the Captain Ahab-based whaler is notably lacking in charisma.
The sequel soon becomes an anthology of Cameron’s greatest hits. Did you like Sigourney’s exoskeleton suit in Aliens? (Of course you did.) Well, there are about a dozen of them in this movie.
Do you like giant ships sinking? Well, this movie has got a doozy, and while it may not take longer to sink than did the Titanic, it sometimes feels like it. The new Avatar is grindingly long at three hours and twelve minutes because the director has had a whole bunch of good ideas over the past thirteen years and is going to show you every one of them.
I wish I could have seen an Editor’s Cut minus about 45 minutes.
One of the biggest promises by Republicans in the 2022 election season was that if they won a majority in the House, they would defund the $80 billion that Biden wants to hire 87,000 new IRS agents.
But now they are about to agree to a $1.7 trillion omnibus spending deal with President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to fund the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year. That includes the full funding for the IRS expansion.
This 4,000-page end-of-the-year behemoth is a terrible bill on every level. It will add to the deficit, increase the size of government agencies and contains virtually no offsetting spending cuts. Senate Republicans are also preparing to waive Congress’ self-imposed legal limits on government spending — which, if enforced, would require $130 billion of automatic cuts in the budget. Given that the budget has already expanded by $5 trillion over the past two years, cutting 3% of this excess debt spending should be painless and the first important step to returning to fiscal sustainability in Washington.
But what is worst about this omnibus spending bill is that it would give the green light to double the size and intrusiveness of the IRS — which is exactly the opposite of what Republicans promised.
This will provide funds so that the IRS can monitor people’s transactions of as little as $600 — the cost of buying a household appliance or a round-trip airline ticket. Given the abuses of the IRS in recent years, this plan will lead to more harassment of law-abiding citizens. We saw when Lois Lerner was an enforcement official at the IRS under President Barack Obama that the tax collection agency was weaponized against those who held political beliefs not aligned with that administration.
We are especially concerned that the IRS has spent millions of dollars on guns, ammunition and even military-type weapons to be used if necessary against American citizens.
Just to give a sense of how large the IRS would become under this budget, you could fill to capacity most NFL football stadiums with just the added number of tax revenue agents. This is said to be necessary to increase tax compliance and end tax cheating. But as we have argued many times, the best way to increase tax collections and reduce the intimidation power of the IRS would be to vastly simplify the tax code and lower tax rates — for example, by adopting a flat tax. By instituting a fair and simple tax system, Congress would diminish the incentive to underpay taxes owed.
The idea of a tax collection agency with more than 150,000 agents and auditors to snoop on the public is fundamentally at odds with the American ideals of freedom, privacy and prosperity.
Republicans should walk away from any short-term budget deal that helps enable this vast IRS expansion.
My Christmas gift to myself this year is a column about zombie movies.
I’ve been wanting to do this one since October, when it was announced that Night of the Living Dead is getting a woke remake by something named Nikyatu Jusu, which I thought was a martial art but turns out it’s a scowling Sierra Leonean/American filmmaker lauded by critics named Felderstein and Shmulybaum as the future of Hollywood even though nobody on earth has ever seen her movies (if I told you that one of her critically acclaimed films is titled African Booty Scratcher, you’d think I’m kidding. Please continue to think that, because the fact that I’m not will cast a pall over your holiday).
Tykwondo Jujitsu promises an ultra-woke Night in which “the humans are the real monsters.” And as every fan of the genre knows, that’s the most stale cliché associated with zombie films (Google it; it’s routinely ridiculed by superfans). That Nickyuhu Jewsue boasts of that trope as if she invented it is further proof that she’s an intellectual lightweight who coasts on skin color rather than gray matter.
Still, the idea of a “woke” black Night is oddly appropriate. Depending on your knowledge of zombie films (and if your knowledge begins with the execrable Walking Dead, you have no knowledge), you may or may not know that it’s a genre uniquely associated with race.
1968’s Night of the Living Dead was the first modern zombie film, the first movie to take zombies away from Caribbean voodoo priests (i.e., White Zombie and I Walked With a Zombie) and transform them into modern American monsters (if you want more background from me on this, and you likely don’t, click here). Night is the most influential horror film in history; all modern zombie films trace their universe “big bang” to Night.
Night established the rules that all subsequent zombie films either follow or parody. But Night has another place in history as the first racially “woke” horror film.
Except it happened unintentionally.
Initially, there was nothing racial about Night. A bargain-basement production by Pittsburgh commercial producers, the script was surprisingly innovative for the time. The blond “heroine,” Barbra, goes catatonic in the film’s first third and never recovers; the attractive, sympathetic young lovers die violently halfway through the movie; and the hero, Ben, survives the zombie onslaught only to be mistakenly shot as a zombie by his would-be rescuers.
As originally written, Ben was a redneck trucker, a “hyuck-hyuck” caricature. But the newbie filmmakers, who took many of the acting roles themselves to save money, realized that they had nobody in their ranks who could carry a lead role. So they advertised for a New York thespian, somebody with legit acting chops. And a handsome, Sorbonne-trained actor and academic named Duane Jones answered the call. Jones, a NYC-born black man, insisted on removing the hyucks so he could use his own speaking style (blacks today hate being called “articulate,” but there’s no better word for Jones’ polished manner).
Jones carries the film; it’s a tremendous performance, and (to present-day viewers) it’s aided by the fact that he had a sensible haircut (no joke; I don’t think Night would be as timeless if Jones had sported a late-1960s ’fro; it would’ve forever dated the film).
Night has the distinction of being the first American movie in which the lead character is black but didn’t have to be (the role isn’t “black,” it wasn’t written for a black, and race is never mentioned on screen). The role was written for a white guy; Jones just happened to be the best actor who applied.
Needless to say, audiences at the time couldn’t resist reading “social consciousness” into the movie. What had, in the original script, been a simple twist ending (the hero survives only to be accidentally shot by the zombie-hunting posse) became a “statement” (the black man survives only to be gunned down by the white posse that failed to see his humanity!).
Initially, director and co-writer George Romero (of Lithuanian and Castilian-Cuban descent) dismissed the adulation from the pretentious film critics who hailed him as a master of racial commentary. Then he sobered up and was like, “Holy shit, I’m a nobody from Pittsburgh, and New York critics named Lipschlitzen and Cohenburger are telling me I’m a socially conscious genius. Why am I contradicting them?”
So from that point on, Romero wore his woke badge proudly, even if it had only been bestowed because critics can’t just enjoy a film without requiring a “message.” Romero’s next zombie film, 1978’s Dawn of the Dead, embraced “messaging” heavily (mainly regarding American consumerism). This time, the lead character was black on purpose, and race was mentioned, though thankfully only at the beginning, in a terrible (albeit brief) scene in which a racist white SWAT officer rails about “niggas and spics! I wanna blow all dehr lousy heads awf! Niggas and spics! Niggas and spics! I’m gonna get me some niggas and spics!”
Dawn is a three-hour movie, so that one terrible moment doesn’t ruin it. Indeed, it’s Romero’s best film and the best zombie movie ever made. But the seeds were planted; from then on, Romero would be the “socially conscious” zombie filmmaker, especially after Dawn was praised even more than Night by critics named Oygenflaygin and Kibbutzenschmutz.
In 1985’s Day of the Dead, the two leads—a brilliant female scientist and a wise Jamaican black dude who spouts pretentious philosophy to such an extent that by the end you’re rooting for the zombies to eat him—battle fascist white military guys (this time, there are many scenes of evil white dudes screaming about “jungle bunnies and spics”).
It’s a terrible film, but Romero would outdo himself in 2005’s Land of the Dead. In this one, the black lead is no longer human; he’s a heroic zombie shepherding his “people” to freedom as they fight back against an oppressive white human regime (modeled after the Bush administration) that seeks to kill not only zombies but human “spics” (in Romero’s mind, light-skinned men with Hispanic heritage were routinely oppressed in “Bush’s America”).
At the film’s climax, the black zombie (aided by a “spic” named Cholo played by John Leguizamo) kills the white fascists and leads the zombies to freedom.
The head fascist was portrayed by Dennis Hopper, and I’ve long thought that the toxicity of the script is what gave him his terminal cancer.
George Romero stumbled into wokeness. In 1968 he made an apolitical low-budget horror film that was exceptionally good. He cast a black guy in the spirit of not “seeing race,” yet he ended up as the standard-bearer for seeing race, because the people who championed his movie and made it a household name wanted it to be about seeing race.
Color-blind casting worked too well. Leftists, then and now, demand color-conscious casting.
Romero’s journey should’ve served as a warning of what was to come for every filmmaker of every genre: “See race, and see it as black-good, white-evil, and you’ll be rewarded; don’t see race, or see it incorrectly, and you’ll be dismissed.”
The real lesson of Night of the Living Dead is that the best racial strides are made when you don’t force them. In theory, it should be a big deal that the first American film with a black lead where the role didn’t have to be played by a black actor came about because the movie was cast on talent not agenda. By retroactively embracing “agenda” and claiming “oh yeah, I was trying to be racial all along,” Romero shat on his true legacy. And today, due to the fact that Night is widely (and falsely) seen as an “agenda” film, Romero’s most subversive screenplay element has been lost. See, even though Ben is the commanding, authoritative hero—the audience surrogate—it turns out at the end of the movie that everything he did in the course of the film was wrong.
Viewers don’t realize that until the climax. Ben’s actions lead to everybody dying. If Ben had listened to the bald, abrasive white guy, Cooper, and holed up in the cellar, everyone would’ve lived. But instead, he insists on staying upstairs. He insists on the ill-fated escape attempt that results in the young lovers being burned alive (due to his clumsiness with a torch that the zombies eventually use to break into the house). He beats up Cooper for being right and kills him when Cooper tries to protect his wife. And he socks Barbra to shut her up, rendering her catatonic.
The hero gets everybody killed. That was a revolutionary concept for a movie in 1968.
But because Ben is played by a black man, today’s film analysts can’t entertain the notion. Because black heroes in movies can’t be incompetent. So Romero’s genius twist is lost. Modern critics get it completely backwards; they claim that Ben was right and the white characters died because they racistly ignored him.
“Ben subverted Hollywood tropes of Black men as aggressive. Despite his efforts to keep the group safe, they all die when they refuse to listen to him as he cautions their dangerous actions. If given a chance, he could have saved them all” (Screen Rant). “A black man—Ben—seeks refuge in a house full of white people. He tries to tell the members of his group how to survive, but no one will listen to him” (The Root). “Defying the contemporary stereotype of black men, Romero presented Ben as a heroic, gentle and sympathetic character (who) worked throughout the whole film to protect those around him” (Far Out).
The wokeness Romero ended up embracing has erased a planned groundbreaking achievement (“the hero kills everyone” plot twist) thanks to an unplanned one (the casting of a black lead).
Decades ago, Night fell into public domain, so there’ve been nearly a hundred unauthorized remakes, reboots, and “reimaginings.” But Nikyatu Jusu’s upcoming blackity-black Night (written by The Walking Dead’s LaToya Morgan) is the first since Romero’s death to be endorsed by the Romero estate.
And it makes perfect sense; it brings everything full circle. A franchise that began by not being consciously woke, then petered out and died after becoming increasingly woke as the director adopted the “social consciousness” his patrons thrust upon him, will be reanimated as a woke walking corpse by a talentless “African booty-scratcher” who got where she is by being black, unlike Duane Jones, who got where he was by being good.
In Romero’s films, the zombies are empty shells, shambling around in a body that was once inhabited by a living, vibrant being. That’s the pathos inherent in the story. People die and become grotesque, mindless versions of what they were, with no spark of the humanity, intelligence, and creativity they once possessed.
Romero’s franchise has become just that. His Night of the Living Dead is now the living dead itself.
Night of the Living Night of the Living Dead.
Not the most graceful title, but accurate for the upcoming remake.
Those who live under public scrutiny, whether they wish to or not, would do well to learn an axiom concerning the media: The news cycle can be your friend or an enemy to be feared. In the event of a potential scandal, ride out the first week of the media tsunami and you might just make it through. This is where your PR people either earn or forfeit their bonus, or indeed their job.
The timing and arrangement of news stories is not just a matter of whim or a gap at the top of the hour, but a potent skill set the political class must master, and that was never better or more callously expressed than by an email sent in 2001. Jo Moore was a British governmental media adviser on 9/11 and sent an email to her boss within half an hour of the second plane hitting that read “It’s now a very good day to get out anything we want to bury.” I saw Ms. Moore shortly afterward in the bar of the National Film Theatre on the Thames, and she looked like any other big-eyed pretty-girl politico in a tailored suit. But would she pass the famous Voight/Kampff test in Blade Runner, intended to sort genuine humans from soulless automata? I wonder.
The Jo Moores of the European Union have been busy this past week trying to bury bad news, several MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) having been visited just before Christmas by Brussels’ finest, not for a delicious and festive Belgian fruit beer but to search for, and find, rather a lot of unaccounted cash, apparently from Qatar. This, of course, is the country that recently hosted the football World Cup, an event that led to much muttering about bribery. Are you sure you won’t have that fruit beer, Capitain?
The media would normally have been all over this story like a cheap suit, particularly as the two principals are toothsome Greek MEP Eva Kaili and her playboy boyfriend Francesco Giorgi, who has the kind of floppy blond hair generally worn by men who play polo not in the college pool but with horses, probably in the rich bits of Argentina. But the press left them pretty well alone.
However, Brussels is not entirely a judicial canton of the E.U. but also remains a sovereign concern of the Belgian police, who are not buying the “Santa came early” story to explain the bundles of dosh under the bed. And in case you think the E.U. is not one big happy family, Ms. Kaili invited Papa to the party, asking her father if he wouldn’t mind babysitting some of the cash at his place. Children at Christmas can be a gift all by themselves.
The E.U.’s response to bags of illicit and allegedly Qatari money being found at the homes of its senior staff was predictable. Dr. Johnson once said that patriotism was the last refuge of the scoundrel, and now it’s democracy (remember how it was “on the ballot paper” before the U.S. midterms?), which E.U. President Roberta Metsola said was now “under attack” in Europe. Charles Michel, European Council President, was concerned that these isolated incidents were preventing the E.U. from doing its job, whatever that might be. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (the E.U. has more presidents than Kentucky has colonels), in fine technocratic style, “called for the creation of a new ethics body to oversee the bloc.” Allow me to save time and money by suggesting that accepting bribes is much like stealing and you really shouldn’t do it. Ethics body dismissed.
Perhaps these ethical eggheads might be reassigned to the PR department, as the E.U. immediately decided that rather than tread a little softly around the great unwashed public just at the moment, it would instead cackle and announce a new carbon tax from 2027 that uses the punitive corporate model, but will be targeting the little people. I am sure my 83-year-old mother in London won’t begrudge skipping a meal now and then to save the planet. She was one of the many English voters who were tricked into the European Union in 1973.
The European Union was always a hybrid of the 1970s board game Risk and a Ponzi scheme. Sold to the British electorate as a free-trade alliance between old allies who may have had their differences—but, dash it all, we’re still chums, what?—it was portrayed by the media as one big, jolly French street market, with all that lovely cheese and wine nice and cheap. I know. I was there. The 1970s actually saw the birth in England of the “cheese and wine party,” suburban sophistication some of which my mother was responsible for.
But this bucolic breeze drifting from the continent was deceptively fragrant. When certain governmental papers entered the public domain in 2000 under Britain’s thirty-year rule, the late, great British journalist and thorn in the side of the E.U., Christopher Booker, explained:
What these papers revealed more starkly than ever before, is just how deliberately the [then] Heath Government and the Foreign Office set out to conceal from the British people the Common Market’s true purpose. They were fully aware that it was intended to be merely the first step towards creating a politically united Europe, but they were determined to hide this away from view.
Fraud in, fraud out. It seems to my amateur historian eyes that the E.U. founding fathers—or mothers, or trans, or nonbinaries, or whatever they were—might have skimmed de Tocqueville and thought of it as a sort of world-historical IKEA flat-pack instruction booklet for a democratic superstate. Perhaps they didn’t recognize that it is a lot easier to forge a federal union out of a relatively young aggregation of states (as in the USA) than force together hypernationalistic, heavily armed sovereign bodies at least 1,000 years old who all hate everyone else and have been chopping one another into bits for centuries.
Either way, fraud, bribery, embezzlement, and all the other synonyms for “stealing” are alive and well in the E.U., although the Qataris are less than ecstatic about the accusations. They have hinted to Europe that, hey, that’s a nice source of heat and light you have there, it would be a shame if anything happened to it, Qatar being to liquefied gas as Saudi Arabia is to crude oil. If bribes were taken by E.U. politicians, the cost to the recipients might be a little more than a cozy stretch in a comfortable Euro-jail when several million cold Europeans turn up in Brussels with blazing torches not designed to keep them warm.
The Week’s Most Snowing, Glowing, and Ho-Ho-Ho-ing Headlines
THE TRAGICALLY HIPPO
Christmas carols in Africa have their own unique flavor:
I want a hippopotamus for Christmas,
Only a hippopotamus will do!
Mom’s got Ebola, and Marburg took my dad,
But a hippo in my stocking, that would surely make me glad!
I want a hippopotamus for Christmas,
Only a hippopotamus will do!
Wait a minute, it’s eating me alive,
It digested me and turned me into poo!
Hippos are way better in novelty Christmas songs than in real life. The most deadly creature in sub-Saharan Africa (if you don’t count the Africans themselves), hippos are best kept at spear’s length. Sadly, this lesson was lost on 2-year-old Ugandan boy Iga Paul of Kabatoro, who decided to take a dip in the hippo-infested waters of Lake Edward.
Paul was grabbed by a hippo and swallowed whole.
A frightening experience to be sure, but at the same time, an enlightening one for a shantytown dweller; that hippo’s mouth was the first thing he’d ever seen with a solid roof.
Fortunately for Iga, a villager named Chrispas Bagonza (named after how Africans ogle a lady’s ample bosom—“Man, those are some crisp-ass bagonzas!”) chased Eaty Amin and pulled the boy out. When the hippo, irritated at the Kuntas interruptus of his missed meal, started to charge, Bagonza stoned the creature until it ran back into the lake (and it never said “Jehovah” again).
Iga was taken to a local hospital, which ironically was far less sanitary than the hippo’s mouth. Doctors pronounced him demon-free, but he was given an AIDS-tainted transfusion just to be sure.
Iga’s become something of a local media sensation. When asked if the ordeal scared him, the would-be blue-plate (-lipped) special shrugged and said, “I live in Uganda. It takes more than that.”
Tranny Batman and Robin get a call from the Commissioner:
“There’s trouble at Gotham High! Girls are trying to use the girls’ bathroom in privacy!”
TransBatman answers with his characteristic solemnity:
“Thank you, Commissioner Brinton. We’re on our way!”
At Gotham High, the Bi-namic Duo prepare to deal with the wrongdoers.
TransRobin: “Holy holes, Bat-transman, this is the worst villain of all: the Cisler! A so-called ‘biological female’ and her henchwomen.”
TransBatman: “Yes, Boygirl Wonder, our most dangerous foe since we battled King Tit over his theft of Gotham’s chest binders.”
TransRobin: “I hope my new Barbie pouch doesn’t slow me down during the fight!”
The heroes enter the bathroom.
The Cisler: “Errmahgerd! Men in the girls’ room! Get ’em.”
A fight ensues! “BIFF!” “BAM!” “OOF!” “GAFF!” “ZAP!” “ZIR!” “ZEM!” “TERF!”
The Cisler and her henchwomen lie on the floor.
TransBatman: “Looks like we’ve assigned these transphobes unconscious.”
Last week reports leaked of an incident at an Oklahoma high school in which a boy in a dress tried to use the girls’ room, and when the girls expressed their uncomfortability at seeing his waving wheat sweeping down the plain, he proceeded to beat them to a pulp. Although technically Oklahoma law bars tranny men from women’s restrooms, this is the state where the “conservative” Republican governor, hoping to look antiracist, pardoned a black cannibal who left prison, killed his neighbor, cut out her heart, fed it to his family, and killed his family.
So there’s often a gap between what’s on the books in Oklahoma and what officials actually prioritize.
Being a minor, the tranny boy’s name wasn’t released. But expect to see him cohosting a show on MSNBC alongside the “call me ma’am” GameStop tranny.
Standing over the beaten bullies, TransBatman muses, “It’s ironic; they were done in by their own transphobia. That and the fact that I outweigh them by 150 pounds.”
Heard the news? Gays are discriminated against in Hollywood!
Can you believe it? That’s like saying sweaty fat guys with unibrows are discriminated against in the Mafia. Or emaciated toothless blacks with sulfur stank and schizophrenia are barred from Skid Row.
But it’s true! Last week, at a formal ceremony in West Hollywood, GLAAD unveiled its 10th Annual Studio Responsibility Index, which gauges the level of “gay representation” in Hollywood.
Unfortunately, nobody at the ceremony took notice of the findings, as they were preoccupied performing oral sex on each other under the tables.
But thankfully, The Wrap published the findings the next day. “The percentage of LGBTQ-inclusive films dipped in 2021, as did screen time for queer characters.”
This might seem an odd claim to the average broadcast or streaming viewer, considering that pretty much every show everywhere is gay these days. Even classic TV shows have been retrofitted to be gay-friendly:
“Don’t get on that ship! We translated the rest of the alien book: ‘To Service Man’—it’s a cockbook!”
The thing is, though, when you unwrap The Wrap’s story you find that GLAAD has a very specific definition of what makes a show “gay-inclusive.” The gay characters “must be identifiable as such, must not be solely or predominantly defined by their sexual orientation or gender identity, and must not be a stereotype.”
So, they must be identifiably gay, but not defined by that, but defined by it enough to be identifiable, while not being a stereotype, even though identifiable traits are by definition stereotypical.
A rather impossible standard. Some might even call it a double-bind, except to gays that term means “taking special care that your S&M gimp has two layers of bondage ropes.”
Thanks to the GLAAD report, expect next year’s TV season to be even gayer.
Get ready for Law and Order: HIV.
Last week, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas visited El Paso to assure Border Patrol agents that all is well at the border. He also assured them that FTX is a sound investment, that Quibi is about to make a comeback, and that Avatar: The Way of Water isn’t a pointless retread of the first film.
Needless to say, the rank-and-file agents were unimpressed (except that one dude who was like, “Yeah, this Avatar’s underwater, so it is different!”).
Mayorkas was confronted by a patrol agent who told him that his colleagues are so beaten down by hostile press, daily risks to life and limb with zero support from their higher-ups, and an administration that despises them, they’ve lost all hope.
“I wish you could see into our agents’ eyes,” the agent said. “They’re lifeless.”
To which Mayorkas replied, “Well, sheeeeit, man, mission accomplished!”
As Mayorkas continues to claim that no harm comes from illegal immigration, Americans indulge in the seasonal tradition of watching A Christmas Story on TV, blissfully unaware that Bob Clark, the film’s director, was murdered along with his son by an illegal-alien Mexican driving drunk on the wrong side of the road on PCH in 2007.
It’s too bad nobody commemorates that crime every Christmas by bringing Red Ryder BB guns to the border to shoot illegal crossers.
Clark’s killer, Hector Velazquez-Nava, was sentenced to six years and then deported after his release, which means he’s almost certainly back in the U.S. by now. And if he has a sense of humor, he’ll get liquored up and kill the guy who directed this year’s Christmas Story sequel.
Commitment to a bit.
After Mayorkas told reporters “the border is secure,” he further tested their gullibility by double-dog daring them to stick their tongues to a flagpole.
And there they remain.
DON’T SAY GAY (APPAREL)
On the topic of journalists, they tend to have uneven standards regarding what constitutes a “silencing.” When Ron DeSantis shepherded a law barring tranny teachers from telling little girls “if you like climbing trees you should cut your boobs off because you’re actually a boy,” the press dubbed the law “don’t say gay,” as if gay was now banned in the state, as if mobs of homophobes were burning effigies of Wayland Flowers and Madame and banning confetti lest a Floridian youngster be inspired to follow in Rip Taylor’s footsteps.
Yet whenever a corporation, government, or academic institution actually does ban the word “Christmas,” and conservatives suggest that the secular West is waging a “war on Christmas,” journalists don their harumph-hats and sneer, “Snort, snort, if there’s a ‘war,’ where’s the howitzers?”
This year’s most egregious example of “don’t say Christmas” comes from the University of Brighton. England used to be known as a nation that appreciated Christmas, until a Kipling poem convinced generations of Brits that Gunga Din really was “a bettah man” and the government threw open the borders to Third World savages (yet another reason why poetry sucks and should be avoided at all costs).
And now that Britain is minority Christian, the people who gave the world the TARDIS have become the tardeds. U Brighton has ordered staff members to avoid the word “Christmas” because it’s too “Christian-centric.” All mentions of Christmas are to be replaced with “winter closure period,” because it rolls off the tongue so well.
We wish you a merry winter closure period,
We wish you a merry winter closure period,
We wish you a merry winter closure period,
And a happy fake New Year because the real one is Hijri, you racist Nazi.
Considering that winter doesn’t actually “close” until March 20 of next year, the fact that anything in December would be called “winter closure” suggests that Benny Hill might’ve overestimated his country’s intelligence.
“Blimey, ’ee slapped that bald bloke on thee ’ead. Wotsit mean, guvna? I don’t get it.”
Still, while the U.K. might not be in the spirit, The Week That Perished is.
A Merry Christmas to all our readers!
This December 25, I’m going to have a truly white (Aryan) Christmas by festooning my tree with shiny little baubles in the shape of raised right arms going ‘Heil Hitler!’ before surmounting the whole thing not with a glowing festive star, as is customary, but a large sparkling swastika—and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. After all, extremist black people are allowed to do the precise same thing these days, in terms of draping their own trees in blatantly prejudiced black nationalist symbols and regalia.
Consider this “defiant” raised BLM Black Power fist tree bauble, available for only £16 a pop on the website of London’s National Theatre (NT). Now compare it to this vintage Nazi-era box of tree decorations, including baubles daubed merrily with swastikas and the words “Sieg Heil!” or molded in the shape of Hitler’s handsome white head, like the one I intend to hang proudly on my own tree today. What, precisely, is the difference? Only that one is socially verboten in today’s increasingly racially deranged West, the other officially promoted by state-funded institutions like the NT.
Turning your Christmas tree racist is a new tradition ably fostered by the fun antiwhite financial pogrom-fest that is Black Lives Matter’s annual BlackXmas campaign, first born in 2014. Lasting, appropriately enough, from Black Friday until New Year’s Day, this crazed Christmas crusade encourages individuals to, as BLM’s L.A. branch put it in their weekly email on 8 December, “BUILD BLACK. BUY BLACK. BANK BLACK.”
The basic idea is to get black people to racially discriminate against white people (or gullible white people to racially discriminate against themselves) by refusing to give them any of their valuable gift-purchasing funds. Doing so is to “reject white capitalism” by “circulat[ing] our dollars within our own community!” thereby to transfer their cash “away from white corporate institutions [and banks] that harm our people,” mirroring the similar “Divest From Israel” campaign.
Is capitalism really “white”? It certainly makes a nice change from it being Jewish, like the Nazis used to falsely claim. According to BLM-affiliated academic Melina Abdullah, ranting ahead of BlackXmas 2017, “We say ‘white capitalism’ because it’s important we understand that the economic system and the racial structures are connected. We have to not only disrupt the systems of policing that literally kill our people, but we have to disrupt the white supremacist system [of capitalism] that is really the root cause of these police killings.” An entire societal revolution is needed, then—and buying your Christmas presents from random black men, rather than hideously white institutions like Target or Amazon, was the first step toward doing so.
I’m Dreaming Up a Black Christmas
It seems BlackXmas was part-inspired by Kwanzaa, that pathetic anti-capitalist black non-holiday celebrated every year by literally dozens of morons too dense to realize this “traditional” African festival was actually invented in 1966 by historically and geographically illiterate black radical Ron Karenga—or “Malauna” Karenga, as he prefers to call himself in imitation of his hoped-for noble and ever-so-wise black African ancestors.
According to extremely partial whitewashing mainstream media texts like this edited extract from the apparently highly inaccurately titled 1995 book The Complete Kwanzaa: Celebrating Our Cultural Harvest, Karenga was the benign founder of “a cultural organization” called “US,” which created Kwanzaa as a means of bringing “Us” (as in, black people) “together as a community” by rejecting an alien winter festival that had been inappropriately foisted upon them by the evils of white European Christianity, a mere pseudo-religion of “spookism.” According to actual reality, however, US stood for “United Slaves” and was a radical political sect designed to foster an atmosphere of “Us” (blacks) vs. “Them” (whites), with Kwanzaa embodying the line that “you must have a cultural revolution before the violent revolution.”
And Karenga was indeed violent. In 1971, he was found guilty of torturing two black female disciples accused of slipping poisonous “crystals” into his meals. As well as whipping them naked like an evil white slave-master with an electrical cord, he shoved a red-hot soldering iron into one woman’s mouth. Once inside jail he claimed, like all blacks behind bars these days in the minds of BLM, to be a “political prisoner,” not a criminal one. Like a robin redbreast gone wrong, the red on Katenga’s official Kwanzaa Blütfahne flag design stands for his racial enemies’ blood: “We lost our land through blood; and we cannot gain it except through blood. We must redeem our lives through the blood. Without the shedding of blood there can be no redemption of the race.” Mein Kampf couldn’t have put it any better.
Just to be clear, Ron Karenga is not literally a Nazi; he just seems to share a similarly crude black-and-white mindset.
For BLM, Christmas is capitalism, and capitalism is whiteness. Therefore, the revolutionary logic concludes, Christmas is the enemy and must be destroyed. Head to the BlackXmas website and you will find that, every December, “at every turn, white-supremacist-capitalism is telling us to spend our money on things that we don’t need, to reap profits for [white] corporations.” Furthermore, “Capitalism doesn’t love black people,” as “proved” by the way “capitalism invented policing,” even though it didn’t. Much as Marx once told the workers of the world they had nothing to lose but their chains, so BLM suggests followers “shake off the chains of consumerism” by “dismantling existing structures” of financial oppression, something that must be done “in the names of our mightiest and most righteous warrior Ancestors” like Bill Cosby.
Substitute the word “white” with the word “Jewish” in all this crap, and you reveal an uncanny parallel. In the name of their own “most righteous warrior Ancestors,” a race of pure white Aryan super-Vikings every bit as fictional as the pure black African super-Zulus of Hollywood’s Black Panther franchise, the Nazis too sought to remove capitalism from Christmas—by withholding their Reichsmarks from supposedly rapacious Jewish-owned businesses, vandalizing Jewish-owned shops, and buying each other presents from “pure” German retailers instead. Nineteen thirty-five advertisements for one such formerly Jewish business reassured customers that “the department store has been taken over by an Aryan!” so was now safe and hygienic enough for innocent Nordics to shop at.
Not wanting to celebrate the birth of an unacceptably Jewish baby in Jesus Christ, Nazism sought to rebrand Christmas not as Kwanzaa, but as Julfest (Yuletide), a spurious winter-solstice festival once purportedly celebrated by the German volk’s hardy, warrior-like ancestors, in honor of the annual rebirth of the sun from the depths of darkest winter. References to Jew-Boy Jesus were hence ruthlessly excised from classic festive carols, as in this new, “improved” “Silent Night”:
Silent Night, Holy night,
All is calm, all is bright.
Only the Chancellor [i.e., Hitler] stays on guard,
Germany’s future to watch and to ward,
Guiding our nation aright.
Nazis having little time for goodwill to all men, original carols were commissioned, requesting a New Year full of “Much fighting, salvation, blessings and labor, for sure,” or warning future soldiers with stereotypical Teutonic severity that “Once you grow up you will need strong hands to master the hardships/A cold home and hard bread—stop asking questions!” As one leading Nazi newspaper argued in 1925: “At Christmas, Germans shouldn’t wish for peace on earth. We don’t want peace! It is a crime to tell our people to wish for peace. It means wishing for them to accept shame and humiliation.” No Justice, No Peace, then, as BLM also chant.
BLM’s own parody BlackXmas “Justice Carols” sound every bit as threatening, as seen in: “Hark! The fighting people sing/Listen to the news we bring!” They seem to have left off the words “or else we’ll immediately burn your shops and houses down and get away with it all,” here. But then, as their equally intimidating “Deck the Halls” remix has it:
Deck the streets Black, young and old
We won’t do as we’re told
What that verse really means is “Blacks are now above the law.” It should have been called “Deck the Cops”; fascist-era Black- and Brown-shirts have been swapped seamlessly for neo-Marxist Black- and Brown-skins. Other lines run “Police have no force we concede to” and “We’re the leaders we’ve been seeking,” which says everything about their openly antinomian nature. The German word for “leader,” incidentally, just happens to be “führer.”
“There is nothing either good or bad,” said Hamlet, “but thinking makes it so.” I suppose the same could be said of importance: “There is nothing either important or unimportant, but thinking makes it so.” The main difference is in the number of syllables.
Of course, our assessment of goodness or importance may be mistaken. I may think, for example, that a certain person is good when he is in fact a monster of dishonesty or depravity. I may think that economic policy is unimportant, but it will affect me whether I follow it or not. And criteria make judgment.
Is sport in general, and soccer in particular, important? In some senses, yes, and in others, no: There is no definitive answer from all points of view simultaneously.
The World Cup in Qatar attracted hundreds of millions of viewers, for whom entertainment was more important than the extravagant absurdity of air-conditioning the outdoors in a place as hot as Qatar so that the players should be able to play at all, the sheer waste resources on so ephemeral an event (Qatar is said to have spent $220,000,000,000 on preparing for the championship), and the lives taken during the construction of the stadium and other infrastructure.
International sporting contests are free to express patriotic and even xenophobic sentiments without fear of purse-lipped disapproval. The importance of such sporting contests is attested by the fact that no one would choose the members of a team other than by merit, assessed in as objective a way as possible. No one would insist that a team should be demographically representative of the population as a whole; it would not be necessary to explain that to choose a team in such a way would inevitably result in a team far less good than a team chosen purely on merit.
Sport is thus more important than any other field of human activity, at least in the West, where such minor matters as the membership of university faculties, entry to professions such as law and medicine, and directorships of public companies are now to be allocated by demographic weight. The conclusion is clear: Sport is the most important, or (what amounts to the same thing) considered the most important, pursuit of human existence.
Being at my house in France, where I am without a television, at the time of the quarterfinal between England and France, my French brother-in-law who was visiting suggested that we go to a café in the village to watch the match. Not surprisingly, I was the only English person there, a fact that quickly became known.
Before the match, the philosophers of football discoursed learnedly on what was likely to happen, interspersed by advertisements for Saudi Arabia as a tourist destination, possibly the most revolutionary advertisement ever screened, as well as for betting sites by means of which the poor could impoverish themselves further. Everyone was extremely friendly, even the degenerate alcoholics who were propping up the bar and for whom the match was not the main reason for their presence. It is curious that while the English and French are supposed to be deeply antagonistic to one another, this never translates into unpleasantness in personal encounters, rather the opposite.
Naturally my brother-in-law was keen for France to win, but with one reservation: Earlier in the day, Morocco had defeated Portugal (by all accounts deservedly), which meant that, if France won, Morocco would play France in the semifinal. Win or lose, he said, young people of Moroccan descent would cause chaos in Paris and other large cities. The scenes in Brussels when Morocco beat Belgium were not encouraging.
As it happens, I am writing this on the eve of the France-Morocco match (France, as was expected, having won against England, though not by much). Ten thousand riot police have been deployed in France, including the famed CRS, who are not to be trifled with. The metro stations near the Champs-Elysée have been closed, so my brother-in-law said, to make it more difficult for crowds to assemble there. No doubt these are wise precautions.
The mind, however, averts itself from thinking about the meaning of all this. It is like the sun and death, according to La Rochefoucauld: You can’t look at, or think about it for long—it is too painful. You grow despairing and you start to have unworthy thoughts; best to put it out of your mind altogether.
The match between England and France seemed to me to have been played in a friendly and decent spirit, especially considering what was at stake for all the players. This, of course, was as it should be, but is not always.
When France scored their second and winning goal, and the English player, Harry Kane, missed what would have been an equalizing penalty, thereby sealing England’s fate, the joy in the café was unconfined. It is true that the two young ladies at the table in front of mine seemed hardly to notice what was going on, presumably being mainly there to accompany their boyfriends (they hardly glanced at the screen), but everyone else jumped up with arms raised in triumph. Many of them looked as if running to the bar would have been beyond their athletic capabilities. Perhaps sportsmen are so lauded, even worshipped, because they are the screen on which so many regretful dreams are projected.
When the final whistle went, and France had won, one of the young ladies turned to me and said, “All my condolences.” “It’s not very serious,” I said, “I will survive.” “Yes,” she said, “so long as you have your health, that is all that counts.”
I am not sure that it is all that counts, but certainly it is quite important. As I stood to leave, she said, “Desolée” (very sorry).
“It’s not your fault,” I said, laughing.
Theodore Dalrymple’s latest book is Ramses: A Memoir, published by New English Review.
Well, the Jan. 6 committee has produced its long-awaited report. In a surprise move, the committee referred former President Donald Trump for criminal prosecution, accusing him of inciting insurrection, among other crimes.
In fairness, Jan. 6, 2021, was the day that Trump announced he would open our southern border and allow nearly 5 million unvetted illegal immigrants into our country, whereupon they would be flown to various cities around the U.S. and given full access to all our welfare programs.
Obviously, this constitutes insurrectionary behavior. The committee had no choice but to demand criminal charges.
LATE BULLETIN: It was NOT the former president who did this, but the current president, Joe Biden. In another development, it turns out that engineering a foreign invasion of our country has been redefined as a “humanitarian mission.”
When will this “humanitarian mission” end? Apparently, never — not until all 7 billion humans living in places less luxe than America have moved here, at which point America won’t be so hot anymore, so no one will want to come.
Thus, The New York Times quoted Jennifer Quigley, of Human Rights First, saying of our intervention in Afghanistan: “We can’t claim mission accomplished. There are still too many vulnerable people abroad.”
After spending billions of dollars trying to build a semblance of civil society in that stone-age culture, evidently now we’re supposed to open our doors to everyone who lives there. Even granting that absurd notion, I can’t help but notice that Quigley seamlessly shifted from “Afghanistan” to “people abroad.”
So we have to take in every “vulnerable” person who doesn’t already live in the U.S.? Is there any other way to interpret her statement?
CNN demands that we fly Afghans here directly, not content to wait for these future Nobel Prize-winners to take the air-land route from Afghanistan through Central America into our country — which they are also doing.
For the last few weeks, CNN has aired a story almost every hour about how Afghans “risked their lives” to save Americans, so now we owe them permanent residency in our country. It’s unclear whom we were ever fighting, inasmuch as everyone in the country seems to have been a “translator.”
CNN hosts triumphantly produced a letter by “retired diplomats,” warning that if the U.S. doesn’t “support its allies” [by allowing them to move here], “in the future our allies will be less likely to support the U.S. missions.” (And then who will teach third-worlders about feminism, gays and George Floyd?)
Former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan must be relieved to hear liberals admit that how we treat those who put their lives on the line for our country will determine how we are willing to do so in the future. Whelan, you’ll recall, is rotting in a Russian prison, because a lesbian, Women’s National Basketball Association star (but I repeat myself) took precedence over him in a prisoner trade. We’re looking for a few good men. Anybody? Anybody?
We’ve already taken in 76,000 Afghans since Biden’s smooth withdrawal last year. (Please, God, tell me we rescued the Afghans who helped paint the George Floyd mural.)
And look at what a blessing they’ve been!
Mohammad Haroon Imaad was among the first batch of beloved Afghan “translators” brought to America last year. He was still living on the Fort McCoy military base in Wisconsin when he was charged with beating and choking his wife. She explained that he beat her all the time back in Afghanistan, once blinding her in both eyes.
Obviously, the Imaad household is going to be a real boon to our country. Yeah, we’re gonna have to raise the Social Security retirement age and start means-testing, but on the bright side, we’ve provided housing to Mrs. Imaad and paid for her astronomically expensive eye operations.
On the very same military base, another cherished Afghan ally, Bahrullah Noori, committed multiple forcible sexual assaults on children within weeks of arriving. Other Afghans flown to Fort McCoy showed up with child brides and multiple wives.
Just weeks after the Afghan-of-the-Month competition at Fort McCoy, another Afghan on our “must-have” list, Zabihullah Mohmand, was accused of raping a woman in Missoula, Montana. How long had he been here? A week? But the good news is, Mohmand was fully vetted by our government, according to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. If you can’t trust those guys …
In response, the media promptly stopped reporting those stories. Perhaps a better idea would be for CNN to have a word with the 76,000 “translators” already deposited on our shores. Hey, guys! Remember, for the next few months, NO RAPING!
Again, these were the most-favored Afghans, the ones who qualified for the first round of emergency admissions. And they just keep coming.
Now, that’s what most people call an “insurrection.”