Monday, November 21, 2016

portlanarcho-tyranny

"Well, thank you for a most pleasant arrest experience so far." I said. The petite cop in riot gear smiled. We stood in a line of detainees, each with his own police escort on arm. My flex cuffs were mercifully loose. We chatted a little as we waited. She was holding me firmly by the inside of the arm above the elbow. Nothing at that moment could have distracted me from my gloom but this: I wondered if my arm felt as good as her hand. Male physical vanity never rests. "Be careful out there" I said as I got on the bus. More vanity. It was sometime after midnight, Sunday morning.

In Portland anti Trump protests began on election night and by Wednesday protesters were closing roadways and besieging city hall. Faced with massive demonstrations and guided by a progressive mayor/police commissioner, police adopted a light, even helping hand, closing a freeway on behalf of marching protesters not once but twice. This despite protesters turning away the first time police halted rush hour traffic for them ahead of their path. As a police response, it probably represents a first.


Marchers managed to ditch their chaperones and close a freeway down once more all on their own that first Wednesday, nicely capping off the hat trick. So far protests had been peaceful and evenhanded in their distribution of misery among thousands of commuters, and no delayed emergency vehicles were reported.

But by Thursday the initial shock had worn off, the radical element had shown up and the self-feeding hysteria was picking up steam; the mayor's room to annoy strategy became untenable. From a demonstration reported in the thousands antifa youths in masks emerged, some armed with bats, vandalizing a nightlife district. Police dispersed them with tear gas and flashbang grenades, arresting twenty-five. The city claimed a million dollars in damages the next day.

But I missed all that. I had set out that night, having determined after Wednesday's remarkable events to witness whatever happened next--and to stream it online. I checked to find one demonstration was set for somewhere in the northwest and another for the nearby riverfront park downtown. The weather was dry and warm for fall, with scattered picturesque clouds moving under a near-full moon. The demonstration at the park it was.

Crossing the bridge toward downtown I was startled by an antifa flitting across the street at an angle in the other direction, off to my ten o'clock as if to go around me. He negotiated train tracks that run down the center of the road with affected grace. His backpack was stretched and molded around the handle of what looked like a racquet but was probably a club; a type of kit common among them, I suspect, as I saw a few more. At the downtown waterfront park I found a candlelight vigil underway. I approached; a man addressed the small crowd:
"...Donald Trump was not elected. Donald Trump had the power and influence to put himself inside the White House...I hate to be the conspiracy theory guy, but when states that were blue four years ago all of a sudden magically turn red all over the map that is power and influence...I want you to know that your rights, your surgeries, your papers, everything you need as a trans person is not going to disappear. I will fight for that shit! I will die for that shit! I will go to jail for that shit! You will not be without what you need under my watch, under each other's wach, we have each other, our allies have us, and I want us to take a moment to think of the people we need to be allies to. If you're from this country you need to be allies to immigrants. 
We need to be allies to children. Children do not have the capacity to articulate their feelings, they do not have power over their own beings to come to the rallies...they are not in control of their own destiny. They need to see you, transgender children need to see you, transgender children, even those who are not out yet, need to see you, they need to know that you are there and that you will fight for them and that they can talk to you. 
Immigrant children, and children, I work with children, I work with children who are homeless in the city, I work with children who face food insecurity in the city, I work with children who come up to me every day and tell me they're hungry, I work with children who do not have a bed to sleep in at night and it is the last goddamn thing that breaks my heart that the one thing in this world that keeps these children going, their parents, they now fear will go away.  It's heartbreaking. 
Lastly, I want to say, take good care of yourselves. Can we take a minute? Can we breathe? Can we all just (inhales and exhales deeply). Look a the moon. It's beautiful. Look at nature. Feel the air. Feel, what if feels to be okay. It is okay to take a moment to be okay. Remember that. Thank you."
A young lesbian hesitated nervously.
"We believe in you!" Someone shouted over encouraging cheers.
"So. I cried. I cried a lot. You know I've been seeing a lot of quotes from my conservative friends on Facebook, about how we're all a bunch of crybabies. You know what? I am a crybaby! I'm crying, because every time I hear that man's voice, I hear someone saying, 
'nice ass' 
'what's your cup size?' 
'damn you're looking beautiful today honey' 
'you'd be a lot more beautiful if you smiled' "
 Sympathetic boos followed the last one immediately, as if a crescendo had been reached.
"Every time I see his face I see the face of the men who grabbed me--"
The group cheered as she choked up.
"And the fact that, you know, he doesn't just remind me of those people, he is one of those people. It shakes me to my core, and makes me so scared, and threatened, and I feel like--"
She choked up a little longer; someone came forward with a tissue; scattered laughs and applause followed.
"...but, I woke up yesterday morning, after sleeping for three hours, because that's what my mind would allow me to do and I thought of this poem, oh, you know, most of you might recognize it and even know it by heart, it's very famous, it's by the president of my soul, Dr. Maya Angelou, and, uh, every time I feel like this country thinks that I'm less than a person, every time I feel threatened or scared, as a woman, as an American, I think of this poem and it really helps me..."
She gave an impassioned reading of Still I Rise.

A man spoke next.
"...I also work with Catholic Charities, with their Refugee Resettlement Program; we have refugees coming in still, we have a lot, because we have to get them in before something happens, so we have a lot of work that needs to get done...we need as much help as we can get so if you're into that please look into volunteering with Catholic Charities..."
A "bisexual Jewish woman from the South" followed him.
" want to share with you my experience today a work. I was sitting around a table, with my boss who is a Muslim Somalian refugee...alongside a queer white woman from Portland Maine...another Somalian...an immigrant from Nicaragua...all of us sat together today and cried, but also we wrote on a board what we can do, what we can do in this community to take action; and we need to align our white allies with communities of color, with the LGBT community, and I don't see enough of that..."
Despite all that, in nearing her close she offered, and with genuine feeling, what used to be a standard trope, that she's been all over the world and America is still the best country on earth. Crickets.

Less political types spoke as well; the more measured the sentiment the more difficult it was to express, for all the necessary hedging and stumbling to avoid offending the heightened sensitivities of the assembled; and always the speaker having to double back and denounce Trump, like a runner having to stay close to first base. A boy of about five clambered about in a rainbow tutu as they spoke. The eternally wise eight-year old made an appearance. I didn't linger too long before going home.

At home about an hour later I learned rioting had been going on in the Pearl District. Heading back downtown I found a police line cordoning off a boulevard down which police were driving demonstrators.  A crisp voice over a loudspeaker commanded people off the street, repeating what became the boilerplate of the campaign, ordering demonstrators off the street, warning of arrest, threatening "the use of riot control measures."
The standard engagement of the week became police pushing demonstrators down a city block, lessening their numbers as the less committed bail out via cross streets, until the last few die-hards were boxed in by police lines all around and dealt with. Still, the papers had only reported a few arrests and I would only witness two myself over the week. The last I saw--or rather heard via police loudspeaker--Thursday night of the protesters they were being ordered out of a parking structure near the courthouse.

They returned downtown that Friday, taking over the oft-occupied city hall of this progressive city. The road-blocking strategy yielded its first injury, when a pair of toughs--law and order's last defenders in this skewed order--stopped their car and order demonstrates to clear the roadway. After an impromptu debate on civil disobedience, they contented themselves by shooting someone in the leg before speeding away. They were caught two days later. The suspects are black, the alleged shooter just fifteen. The shooing victim's name is Hispanic. The quick-reacting cops and paramedics were, probably, white. As a narrative vessel, this one was unworthy from stem to stern.

By the time I made it downtown Friday night things were in full swing already; protesters were occupying a hotel district on Broadway. Police were massed across an intersection of harrying, disorganized protesters; the loudspeaker repeated the drill. Autos weaved their way slowly through the mass of protesters and hangers-on; "Broadway is open to vehicular traffic" the loudspeaker explained at points, ordering everyone else to take to the sidewalk and move south. I joined the mass of protesters already engaged in the with riot police in the squaring off phase of the now standard cycle of standoff-chase-standoff.

I waited behind the front line of protesters facing police across an intersection. Occasionally a shrill taunt emerged from them. Someone from behind threw a plastic bottle of water toward the police; it landed without making it past our own front line and rolled slowly toward the cops. This was the only act of aggression toward police I witnessed. Eventually the loudspeaker went silent. The protesters went mostly silent, pensive. The cops, a mass barely distinguishable in the smoke-dirtied mist, were silent. I heard a rattling on the ground; a flashbang went off under my feet and we were off again, running a block south before stopping and turning back. The police kept coming. A lone protester held the line to the end, and the cops walked right through him. Again we were running. Again we stopped. I almost knocked over a girl.
"It's okay, it's okay." We said in unison, even reaching over to pat one another on the shoulder in nearly identical motions. The police didn't pull up, but kept coming, firing another round of flashbangs and driving us farther down the street.

Farther up the street some were trying to create a barricade with the paltry few articles they could find: some plastic newspaper vending machines, traffic cones, some of those wooden sawhorse-style street construction signs. I passed on bailing out to the west for one more block.

Coming out of the mist of smoke upon a cross street I saw those ahead of me raising their hands before a wall of waiting cops. I turned around; the wall of cops that had been pushing us down the street were upon us now, their line melting as the street filled with police in riot gear. "You're under arrest!" One barked, pointing at me. "Sit down." I meekly sat on the pavement. I had been on the street about an hour.

Another hour on the street and a commandeered city bus showed up to collect us. A cop guided a small female toward me and watched as she approached nervously. I made as meek as I could as I turned around and offered my hands. She seemed relieved, and took her time ensuring the plastic handcuffs weren't too tight.

Five of us were crammed into the back row of the bus. On my right a kid, biracial, with a woeful look under pleading eyebrows. He had been complaining of getting pepper sprayed since an hour before on the pavement. Now he had to piss too. He alternates between begging and taunting; occasionally he makes jokes, crude in subject matter and cruder in construct, all in the torturous plaintive, questioning tones of modern generic ghetto pidgin.

"Gotta piss yo. Hey yo, gotta piss."

To my left was a veteran activist, older than the others (but still far younger than I, the oldest by far, it appeared, in the lot), bristle-bearded but clean-cut, with the earnest probing face of a Midwestern evangelical. He is helpfully calm. On the other someone I couldn't make out, another biracial type, all menace coiled up in the corner. In a low voice that carries he begins taunting the cops immediately, with the worst insults. They're pussies, they're faggots.

A skinny kid with acne started in, emboldened perhaps, a classic post-adolescent high-pitched whine, to go with Pepper Spray's mumbling middle register and Menace's. Like Pepper Spray  he appeared to be an apolitical type, like many I would see that night. Nobody had done anything wrong, and everybody was pleading their case to the indifferent cops stationed at the bus doors.

"How long do you think they'll keep us?" Someone asked.
"It all depends on whether or not they want to fuck with us." I affected an experienced air, but surmised as much was true.

The Veteran and I tried to calm them--I pretended to know what I was talking about--by assuring them we'd probably be quickly processed and released with a ticket.

The menacing guy in the corner started calling out cops individually, using their names if he could make them out. They returned only hard, sometimes uncomprehending--is he serious?--stares; he redoubled his efforts. He too had to piss now. He and the pepper spray victim traded bad jokes about having to piss. Acne whined in. I was sure a supple enough legal mind could easily construe this as "cruel and unusual punishment".

"They're all faggots." Menace said. "Fucking pigs."
An effeminate young man with a painful looking under-bite squirmed in his seat. My glasses had been sliding at a glacial pace down my nose, resting precariously at the tip. The pepper spray survivor joined in, egging him on and providing his own milder insults. Even Acne was emboldened. Cops shuffled on and off the bus continually, peering into the darkness at us before moving away.

"Oh look at them." Menace said. "They wanna kick some ass now."
A pair of cops got off the bus.
"They're gonna go suck each other's dicks." He slurred.
"I don't know about this homophobia" the effeminate boy said, looking away nervously.
Menace paused. Was he caught up?
"It's not homophobia." He hissed.
"It is. And I just can't take--"
"Then don't."
There was another pause.

Someone turned to the subject of politics. The veteran activist at my side--the only clearly political one near me--painted a grim picture of protesting under Trump; demonstrations like ours would soon be met with real bullets and camps. "They will just start hauling people away." He said. I eyed him furtively through side-cast eyes; he appeared to be serious. One of the kids nodded somberly.
Someone suggested we're doomed. No, there's hope, the Veteran offered. Two short years of prolonged demonstrations and resistance up to the midterms, yielding a Democratic sweep, would save us.

"Gotta piss yo."

They led us inside in pairs to a row of chairs covered in plastic garbage bags. Menace, somehow he got in there ahead of me, despite having offended every cope he saw, was still growling about having to piss. They sat me next to a short stout guy with a pink Mohawk--he reminds me of Sam Hyde. He's been in there all day, or he's been in there twice in the same day, or something; whatever it is, the cops all seem to know him by name, and some stop by to engage in lame banter. He laughed good naturedly, explaining he had pissed someone or other off, thus here he was. His good cheer wore better than the cops' passive aggressive comedy.

They brought in the pepper spray victim. He had been allowed to pee, but this only unleashed a new fury.
"Yo I think I got some of that shit on my balls yo."
"I told you to be careful." One of the cops said. "I warned you about transference. I told you not to touch your eyes."
"Yo you didn't tell me about my balls yo."
"I would have thought you'd make the connection." The cop said with satisfaction.
"Seriously yo. If you've got any milk."--milk is an agent for relieving pepper spray--"You could just put that shit in a dish and I could, you know, like squat in it..."

"Sounds like a fetish to me." I said. Mohawk erupted in laughter. A cop--round-faced, bald-domed and cheerful, who had been engaged in cheerful, if lame banter with Mohawk moments before, came over and directed me to the other end of the row of seats.

"Was it my material?"

Pairs of plainclothes cops sat at folding tables in an impromptu interrogation room. I was dealt two women who looked like very tired schoolteachers. We chatted amiably. They determined I wasn't an out of town radical, or particularly political. They read me my rights. hey discern I'm from town and apolitical. I probably revealed too much, or would have revealed too much if there was anything to reveal, in my exhaustion.

They sent me along. I watched the guy ahead of me at the searching table, so when I went through the drill I might be spared the bluff, dismissive treatment of the young cop patting me down. It was no help. His boss, a female, is better. She seems to be staring at my midsection with perplexity. My vanity kicks in again. What is that look? But she looks like a lesbian. Is she a lesbian? Boy cop handed me my jacket and sent me off to be photographed.
A band was affixed to my wrist and we marched down the hall to a waiting area, where banks of chairs faced a television showing Back to the Future Part III. On another wall a screen showed our mugshots, each with its own status bar underneath, indicating those ready for release and those awaiting "housing", or jail. We watched and waited.

This screen alternated with a public (prison) service announcement, satisfying an act of Congress regarding prison rape, and advising us of the resources available to us should we suffer from sexual abuse while in incarceration. An old con came on to tell his tale. He looks tough enough; indeed, he says he assumed he could defend himself, but he couldn't...
Grim statistics drove the point home.
After some months he was able to get someone to listen, and to get help (shot from across a medical examination room, a blurred figure is being attended to by a nurse). It's not easy, but you can do it. I imagine some scrawny kid awaiting "Housing" watching this. Lurid nightmare daydreams of getting drawn into the system due to some slight mistake--or mistaken slight of some figure of importance--come to mind. Vanity takes many forms, like Dracula.

From here we were drawn in twos and threes, as we had been through the process all night, and marched down the hall. I was relieved to see my status go yellow--no Kafka-esque nightmare so far. I relaxed a bit when they called me up. Down the hall we went, following the broad black line on the floor and around a corner. It was about seven o'clock in the morning.

"I almost wish you guys had let me out later." The guy behind me said to one of the cops. "I was going to buy some champagne." All relaxed confidence now.
"Oh, you've got a little more time." The cop said, without, I would soon note, a hint of irony. They halted us in front of a cell door. No, I thought, no...
Into the holding tank we went, along with all our companions we had thought were being marched down the hall to freedom.
At ten o'clock they finally let me out into a dim overcast day that was nonetheless blinding to my eyes. My first weekend in Trump's America.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Kate McKinnon should have chosen this song for that SNL opener:

 

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Life in Black and White

Does endorsement of the rioting in Charlotte in response to a police shooting, without any of the usual plausible-enough elements of police misconduct--suspect was not "unarmed", cop is black, etc-- represent a Rubicon crossed for supporters of the Black Lives movement? Is it now that any shooting of a black suspect must prompt rioting? Have the white enablers of it all thought it through? Chilling to think that, at least for the brighter among them, they must have.

Black Lives' problem is the outrages have become like lines of coke with diminishing effect. And no one--black or white--is willing to take away the mirror. So we arrive at Charlotte, where none of the notes of narrative plausibility, such as they are, are present yet the anger and violence, if anything, greater.

The movement is deliberately grown with each new provocation of what constitutes its grassroots--and in an age of astroturf and Soros, the riotous mobs that keep showing up give it legitimacy as a popular black movement, despite the manipulation, which looks to be mostly effected by the social media of a small group of frankly not very impressive activists. The violence and numbers of protesters and the unanimous support among respectable blacks give the movement undeniable popular legitimacy. The anger is there, Soros et al just provide the lacking gumption.

But the fraud nearly inverts the reality; it isn't that black lives are less valued within white culture, but that life is less valued in black culture. From this--and it doesn't matter if it's cultural or hereditary or both--flows all the mayhem and malice that's come to be associated with black America, which of course includes violent police encounters.

Black America rejects white norms and demands its own; this is what black obsession with black authenticity is all about. The Black Lives movement can be seen as a struggle between white and black norms, where the moral insurgency, so to speak, leading the offense and represented by BLM and others, is mostly delusional, but very effective because its delusions we're all force to share.

The lives, property and dignity of others is less valued in American black society; personal strength, charisma and nerve are more highly valued. Whiter is politer. In the absence of white norms black America defaults comically to what is so well represented in hip hop--where black America has carved out nearly complete cultural autonomy from (and influence over) white America and which represents the authentic voice of black America, violence, obscenity and all: an African strongman system, fractured by modern atomization into a hellscape of thousands of  America's own little Big Men fighting over street corners. Hip hop is not "black America's CNN", as DMX said. CNN doesn't represent an ethnic community. Hip hop is much more like the Rwandan radio station that sent the Hutu out to massacre the Tutsi.

But none of this is spoken of; it's barely thought, if the behavior of virtually everyone in a position of authority is to be believed; and in a nation of 300 million a plausible police outrage should come along regularly enough. What's most remarkable is that they don't come along more often and more narrative-worthy. Considering the scale of the problem of black American malice--exposed by the rioting of the Black Lives movement--I'm beginning to see America's police forces as heroically restrained.

Black America fights for its autonomy as black America, and the values, mores and customs it desires; they are not yours. Only listen and you will hear just that. What do black America's white allies fight for?


Friday, September 16, 2016

Plus ca change

From the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin:
In my journey to Boston this year [1754] I met at New York with our new Governor, Mr. Morris... 
One afternoon in the height of this public quarrel we met in the street. "Franklin," says he, "you must home with me and spend the evening; I am to have some company that you will like," and, taking me by the arm, he led me to his house. In gay conversation over our wine after supper he told us jokingly that he much admired the idea of Sancho Panza, who, when it was proposed to give him a government, requested it might be a government of blacks, as then, if he could not agree with his people, he might sell them. One of his friends, who sat next to me, says, "Franklin, why do you continue to side with these damned Quakers? Had not you better sell them? The proprietor would give you a good price."
"The Governor," says I, "has not yet blacked them enough." He, indeed, had labored hard to blacken the Assembly in all his messages, but they wiped off his coloring as fast as he laid it on and placed it in return thick upon his own face; so that finding he was likely to be negrofied himself, he as well as Mr. Hamilton grew tired of the contest and quitted the government.
Here you have both a variation on "electing a new people" and the present practice of calumniating a stubborn majority. May our governor take his blackening and quit his government too.

Freestyle

Eighth of November

Where were you, when the dam gave way?
What did you do on that glorious day?

Before--we were young--they took us aside
On our blank faces they etched their dull lies

All history's sins were ours to atone
We'd reap Equality, from passion sown

Like Soviet farmers we took to the task
Redoubling our efforts with every collapse

We told our own children, to prove their good worth
Endure the hateful, the dim, the wretched of Earth

These they brought to us, admonishing still
We could never really settle this bill

And when those good people, presumed so meek
Demonstrate the strong and cruel rule the streets

Sacking your homes, defiling your daughters
This too is your blame; on with the slaughter!

Where were you, when the dam gave way?
Did you feel that, like some cosmic sway?

Sunday, August 28, 2016

When Marcus Garvey met Franz Boaz

From Marcus Garvey's 1923 essay "Who and What is a Negro?"
The New York World under date of January 15, 1923, published a statement of Drs. Clark Wissler and Franz Boaz (the latter a professor of anthropology at Columbia University), confirming the statement of the French that Moroccan and Algerian troops used in the invasion of Germany were not to be classified as Negroes, because they were not of that race. How the French and these gentlemen arrive at such a conclusion is marvelous to understand, but I feel it is the old-time method of depriving the Negro of anything that would tend to make him recognized in any useful occupation or activity.
(...)
The Moroccans and Algerians have a splendid opportunity of proving the real worth of the Negro in Europe, and who to tell that one day Africa will colonize Europe, even as Europe has been endeavoring to colonize the world for hundreds of years.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Disparate Impact of Rhetoric

It's peaks and valleys across the intellectual landscape of our diverse population. Some demographics are more sophisticated than others. This is the media's implicit justification for suppression of various outrages, from black crime in the States to Muslim barbarity in Europe. To their mind the enlightened liberal isn't the problem; it's the ignorant prole that can't be trusted with objective reality. The ignorant must be kept ignorant, lest their ignorance bring us harm.

Meanwhile the American liberal is habituated to a learned or feigned indifference in the very same things. To be concerned about trans men in bathrooms or immigrant crime is to reveal oneself as to be frightened by bogeys, out of ignorance, or of such low status as to be threatened by trivialities (and at this point we have to concede the official global-elite position on such as Muslim rape gangs is that they are trivialities).

The liberal defines himself in opposition to what he sees as conservative hysteria: the more it annoys the proles the more he is expected to show indifference. But indifference is just another word for ignorance. He's in a conundrum. Our whole world is in a conundrum, of his making.

Indifference can become a heavy psychological load at the individual level. The more intelligent the individual and the greater outrage he's expected to ignore, the greater the tension. Modern liberal man, white-knuckles gripping the rails of the good ship Utopia, doesn't want to know about Rotherham, or Detroit, or what's really going on in the head of a transvestite. The media doesn't only suppress information to keep the regular folk in the dark, it suppresses information to keep liberal cognitive dissonance from boiling over.

the more indifferent--especially indifference inversely proportionate to that which appalls or angers the prole--the better. This is how he signals his status. But the posture itself ensures more and worse things to endure beneath the serene veil of indifference; it's better if these things aren't known. Ignorance is essential to Tolerance.

Suppression of news has the secondary effect of saving the right-thinking from too much cognitive dissonance. That becomes a challenge, obviously, when you're dealing with black urban America or male Muslim migrants. The same level of indulgence will have wildly disparate impact on any two distinct groups. So if it's blacks you're indulging, be prepared to indulge some crazy shit. Better not to know in the first place--this thought haunts the minds of liberals like a specter.

White liberals hold their poor cousins can't be trusted with all the facts because they're irrational. But black America can.

Better still--judging the liberal order's indulgence of black American passions--black America can be trusted with the frauds. Where the white working class is denied even a point of view, black America's is indulged on principle; no one dare point out what so many must think: there is no worse population to encourage than this one (at least, until our Muslims become numerous enough to challenge them).

But white liberal America trusts black America to show restraint in the face of wild hyperbole and questionable logic, all woven into the never-ending fantasia of White Racism. The mainstream and corporate embrace of Black Lives Matter has given convention's stamp of legitimacy to it all. Yet on every metric by which the liberal sees the white wearer of the wife-beater as deficient--education, propensity for emotion, violence, bigotry, intelligence, tolerance, altruism; everything the elitist cites as root causes of bigotry--black America lags negatively. Black agency doesn't exist in his mind--considering it is racism itself.

When the liberal is freed from the racial burden, his innate snobbery comes to the fore. They take as a given that some groups are smarter and more rational than others--in, say, comparing unfavorably the education levels of working class whites with other whites. This allows us to observe elite attitudes while controlling for race, when race is left out (something becoming rarer and rarer) of the story. And here it's revealed how their enthusiasm for black concerns--so far unbounded--is not principle opposed to racial inequality but partisanship demanding it, for non-whites. They aren't applying a standard but picking sides.

They sometimes openly cite the disparate impact of objective truth on impressionable populations as justification for editing out otherwise relevant fact--the eternal white racist bogey, out there in the great, barely less racist working class white mass, must not be encouraged in any way--because he can't be trusted to process information free of rancor, bias and ignorance. But who does this sound like, really?

As a result of the extreme deference paid to black American opinion and ever-lower expectations of behavior, all a result of chasing standards downward to correct the "disparate impact" of "racism", there is no upper limit on hyperbole. Black suffering, its style and playing out, the inevitability of its justice, its soundtrack and language, all of it is for the average earnest white boomer their generation's equivalent of the Great Good War. They will not surrender their expectations under mere failure and societal collapse.

They are worse than blind. Not only do they project onto black America a dignity and decency that isn't there, they created it a powerful alternate reality of film and television where it exists, along with genius, competence, and a ubiquitous white shame and inadequacy in its face. A world of lies--even well-intended ones--is a world of horrors.

The elites hold fast to the principle of elite merit, they have completely abandoned the other half of that equation--their responsibility for their co-ethnics, which they've replaced with the Other, who they see as being less trouble but above all, less embarrassing. It's just easier this way.

 The new technocratic, meritocratic and ironic elite abandons their poor cousins for the most appalling Third World brute, with a smirk.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Helter Skelter

The legal concept of disparate impact presumes a uniformity of intelligence and industry across racial categories against which the "disparate" or "adverse" impact of racism stands out, as if in relief. Of course the concept operates from the universal misconception "talent must be distributed equally", and merely gives a name and legal authority to conventional wisdom that holds racial inequality from wealth to incarceration to be a reliable and shameful measure of racial bias.

A useful concept of disparate impact could have real value if it was only allowed to exist: any law, policy or social phenomena will have predictably disparate impact across a diverse population. An equally applied law will have unequal results. Social change has wildly disparate and adverse impact; the sexual revolution affects the working class a little differently than it affects the elite that writes its propaganda, for one instance. Disparate impact can have huge, even evolutionary implications, it would seem. Understanding it is another necessity we deny ourselves for political correctness.

Rhetoric has a disparate impact. Smarter groups of people are better equipped than others to critically assess the dominant narrative of the moment. They're also more forgiving of hyperbole and less in thrall to emotion, all else being equal, than the less intelligent. And no group is less equipped in this regard than black America. Feeding them this relentless tale of white rapine and plunder is historically irresponsible.

Black Lives Matter is partly a reaction to the disparate impact of white norms of behavior.  BLM seeks relief for blacks from these oppressive norms. It gropes toward something like a general legal double standard for blacks, enforced by a federal bureaucracy, using the Orwellian language of equality and justice. Attempts to shame BLM with black-on-black murder statistics are pointless because the cliche is true: BLM isn't really about black lives. But it is about something. It's about black American autonomy. It's an inchoate revolt against white norms.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Same as it Ever was

With several assassinations now of police and at least one attempted mass murder of white civilians motivated by the Black Lives Matter movement it bears asking if it constitutes genuine political terrorism or just a higher level of black hostility toward law enforcement and whites. The loose structure and inherent chaos of BLM work somewhat to immunize it from the actions of its more fervent adherents. But the current wave of politically-motivated violence, whatever you call it, is already punching way above its weight in lethality relative to the Left's last spasm of politically-motivated violence

Beyond the Weather Underground, the Black Panthers, and the kidnapping of Patty Hearst, the period has been conveniently forgotten by boomers now in power. It was a product of the Sixties but ran its course in the Seventies and didn't spend itself until the mid-Eighties, with the more dedicated and disciplined groups like the Puerto Rican independence group FALN, planting bombs in New York and Chicago up until the time young Barack Obama, still dreaming for himself a more radical--and modest--future than destiny had laying in wait, walked their streets. Bryan Burrough's 2015 history of the time, Days of Rage:
"People have completely forgotten that in 1972 we had over nineteen hundred domestic bombings in the United States" notes a retired FBI agent, Max Noel. People don't want to listen to that. They can't believe it. One bombing now and everyone gets excited. In 1972 it was every day. Buildings getting bombed, policemen getting killed, it was commonplace."
There are crucial distinctions, however, between public attitudes toward bombings during the 1970s and those today. In the past twenty-five years terrorist bombs have claimed thousands of American lives, over three thousand on 9/11 alone. Bombings today often mean someone dies. The underground bombings of the 1970s were far more widespread and far less lethal. During an eighteen-month period in 1971 and 1972, the FBI reported more than 2,500 bombings on US soil, nearly 5 a day. Yet less than 1 percent of 1970s-era bombings led to a fatality; the single deadliest radical-underground attack of the decade killed four people.
The social justice terrorists of the Sixties employed extreme rhetoric and some even imagined the Stalinist purges they would later lead, but they underestimated their own capacity for violence and (probably more important for a calculating figure like Ayers) that of the murderous hordes they hoped to inspire. Not so true for the black radicals of the time. As now, radical politics were for blacks a racial solidarity movement, the antithesis of white radicalism, driven by race hatred as much their white counterparts--at least as they imagined--were driven by opposition to race hate. The Democratic Party remains a dysfunctional coupling of white ethno-masochism and non-white ethnic solidarity.

Left out of most accounts of the time are the Black Muslim Death Angels, less an organization than a tradition attached to the Nation of Islam. The Death Angels may have killed hundreds of whites (to test the cold-blooded brutality, rather than skill or courage, of recruits they were given more credit for murdering women and children) in California alone as part of a leadership initiation ritual. As only four Black Muslims (of eight suspects) were convicted for a fraction of the murders, they mostly got away with it.

But if there are no demands made and no publicity sought--no attempt to terrorize--is it terrorism or just guerrilla warfare? Does the whole of black recreational violence targeting whites, borne along by the relentless narrative of black oppression, constitute a campaign of political violence and terror?

There's just one real book on the subject, about a local Death Angels campaign in San Francisco in the Seventies that became known as the Zebra Murders, Clark Howard's Zebra. Nicholas Styx wrote about the case:
Richard Walley, who until his unfortunate death from cancer in 1974, ran the California Department of Justice’s Intelligence Analysis Unit (IAU), was convinced that during the 1970-early 1974 period alone, the NOI was responsible for 71 black-on-white racial murders in California. In Zebra, however, author Clark Howard estimated that the NOI was guilty of “just under 270” black-on-white murders in California during the same period.
There is another book on the case, a supposedly autobiographical account of the time by the disgraced first black police chief of San Francisco, Earl Sanders, co-authored with a screenwriter and optioned years ago by Dreamworks as a Jaime Foxx project. The book is an attempt by Sanders to portray his minor role in the investigation as major and place it--where else?--in the context of him fighting the Good Fight against racism.

The rhetoric of BLM is revolutionary, through and through, but, unlike the revolutionary groups of the Sixties, it has mainstream credibility and authority--one can lose his livelihood for publicly offending it, for example--this is a fundamental difference between it and any protest group, from milquetoast to militant, from the Sixties. There is no establishment opposition to them. On the contrary, there is much establishment support. In that light, police assassinations by BLM supporters can't be seen as terrorism, at least not anti-state terror. There are no laws on the books to repeal and mainstream convention is in agreement with the terrorists it inspires on everything but remedies.

The current revolution's problem is it is in direct competition with the power it supposedly opposes for its would-be leaders. Corporate and governmental America are so geared toward uplifting blacks the the already-lean talented tenth of black America sells itself on the market at a considerable premium. Despite the rhetoric, long gone are the days when a black American of any talent at all found himself stymied by convention. Non only that, if it's radicalism he's interested in, he can be well compensated for that too. Is it any wonder BLM appears to be a dozen homosexuals and women leading an amorphous mass of gullible idiots?

The political terror of the present isn't revolutionary struggle, it's revolutionary rule.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Akron, Ohio

I overshot the airport by a good ten miles and found myself at a traffic light somewhere around downtown Akron.

The expected unrest at the Republican National Convention ending the day before never developed. I was frankly disappointed. The streets had been flooded with law enforcement officers. Everywhere troopers--from everywhere--California Highway Patrol, Missouri, Indiana, Florida state troopers--in squads or moving through the crowd in threes and fours, fielding the condescending handshakes and thank-yous of the respectable crowd. And almost as many bike as foot platoons, moving, or staging for their next move, never staying put anywhere before a sergeant barked the command had them moving again in disciplined columns. Mounted police, more bicycle cops, motorcycle cops, dog teams, stray SWAT pairs in full gear, Secret Service directing traffic into and out of the arena.
 In the middle of it all the Cleveland cops in their old school uniforms, black, classic peaked hat with visor, like something out of a seventies cop movie. Buffed-up cops, with tattoos, fat, powerful-looking pot-bellied cops, big, shambling old-school cops, all of them looking just like cops. Spotters on rooftops. Everywhere cops.

Concrete barriers and heavy-duty, black, of course, framed chain-link temporary barriers separated sidewalks from street around the arena, guiding foot traffic away from closed areas that one followed at points like a mouse in a maze; I found at least one of these that simply dead-ended, forcing you to come out the way you came.

What didn't appear were the protesters in number. No procession was better than a hundred, maybe; the vast majority numbering in the dozens. Even the anarchists were determined to keep their hands to themselves, rabid but restrained.
The Black Lives Matter presence wasn't nearly black enough to inspire the intended dread.
A few, presumably, local black activists, old, tired, spoke in the square, some heartfelt but ridiculous, some just ridiculous, the more psychologically unbalanced ones more sympathetic than the stupid or cynical ones. On the final day a few rough-looking hood representatives showed up, perhaps looking for trouble but too few to manage the required quorum for chaos.

Any energy came from the young, predominately white college-age activists or the grim Latino pro-immigrant groups, humorless from message to tone, or the zealous, genuinely insane loners cruising the crowd. The common theme is performance; everyone seems to be, above all, self conscious of making a display, of being seen and heard. And the chanting, the dread, crude chanting, like a child's parody of argument, the same chants over and over, as if a gang of idiots is trying to hypnotize you.

Away from the protests in the tight streets around the arena there are all these earnest Midwestern and Mormon Republicans threading through the crowd; something different about their heavier bond structure. Curiously handsome people. And the women, with a primped and styled Fox News aesthetic, sensible but snug dresses over gym-worked waists, heels everywhere clacking along the hot sidewalks. The occasional natural beauty. Dull-eyed locals and homeless taking it all in.

And more prevalent than any the same group of extreme evangelists (no one could decide if they were Westboro Baptist Church or not), drawing a crowd from behind a cordon of cops that grew thicker by the day, taunting Black Lives Matter and the gays with equal vigor and energy. If Cleveland was one giant scrum for attention, these were the winners. A small, hardy ban armed only with its pickets, its bullhorns and its audacity, dominating attention wherever they went.

As often as not the police contingent following a procession was larger than it, sometimes comically so. A single character might even draw bodyguards; there were plenty to go around. The protesters simply did not show up in force.

The last I saw of the fire and brimstone preachers they were still droning provocations through bullhorns, most of which were doubly offensive for being true, from behind a cordon of police four deep, as the crowd--united in this at least--shouted impotently.

I drove about aimlessly the day after the convention. Into the black ghetto to the east, past dull, mostly empty looking block-style project buildings, old, verging on ruin, here and there little, trapped architectural treasures and, always it seems in these places, you find at least one old, grand church deserving of renovation, fenced off, waiting.

I went back downtown, against the flow of outbound tour buses and trucks; the press is already gone, vendors, depressing, crude, idiotic vendors, mercifully no longer calling like carnival barkers. I abandoned Cleveland and drove, for no particular reason, to Ohio City to the west. Again, through block after block of ghetto or marginal neighborhoods; here and there a gentrifying flare, maybe. I came across a Catholic Church in, I think, high-gothic style. For some reason I felt compelled to leave the camera behind. I went inside. The nave was overwhelming; ornate, high arches contained that Catholic statuary, colorful, detailed virtuosity that issues like a challenge you can't possibly meet from the vaunted arches. Of course this inspires the minimalist reaction of Protestantism, and its inevitable artistic mediocrity.

 The small dark figures of the Mestizo congregation sat silently before a bad recording of a Spanish language hymn, indifferent to me. I found myself inexplicably moved, tearing up. I determined that it would not be epiphany, or a "moment"; and it wasn't, because awareness of the moment instantly destroys the integrity of the moment; something like Heisenberg's uncertainty principle is at work. Never being free of the self-consciousness, of the sense of being watched, of giving a performance...moments of revelation are no longer possible. I think this standing in a brilliant work of art the design of which is to make me aware, I think, not just of the presence of God, but of being seen by God. His absence here, now, is unbearable.

That was Cleveland; the revolution didn't show up. The dread was not realized. Maybe things aren't so bad after all. This, more or less, occurred to me sitting there at a traffic light, sensing without quite thinking, as one is apt to do, the weird life-randomness that finds one, say, sitting among commuters in Akron, Ohio thousands of miles from home.

It took a moment to notice, but the street we were waiting to cross was filled with a procession of cars. They threw up gang signs from behind the wheel or as they hung gleefully out the side of minivans, bobbing their heads, shouting, performing. The black ghetto was putting on an unofficial parade. Our light turned green. And they just kept coming. A few meek honks of the horn. Our light turned red, and they just kept coming. A few more honks. The intersection cycled through several times before they finished passing, cursing, taunting, laughing. Intimidation achieved, power demonstrated, message sent with admirable clarity: we can take over your town.

It was just short of terrifying. I couldn't help thinking: there my niggas at! Someone is answering the call to revolution, at least.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Cleveland, 2016











The Thin Blue Vein




She doesn't have a coherent analysis, she probably doesn't groom, but I'm in love.

Drawing a Crowd

Police tactics at the RNC



Nobody drew more consistent negative attention in Cleveland than the group of Westboro-esque extreme evangelists with their fire-and-brimstone-for-the-homos routine. Utilizing their strength in numbers, police simply cordoned off any two groups that squared off in potential conflict, often with quick-reacting platoons swooping in on bicycles, dismounting and using them as barriers.

I saw at least one spotter (or sniper) on a parking garage rooftop; perhaps they helped coordinate from their vantage, as sometimes harried police hustled from one potential flashpoint to another.

More often than not police outnumbered protesters on both sides, often comically so. Sometimes you'd see a contingent around a lone character surrounded by opponents; for the life of me I couldn't tell why this one in particular was seized upon.

See Emily Play


Emily Williams of Nashville.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Richard Spencer

I was down to my outdated handycam here, and the extreme evangelists weren't cooperating, but here's Richard Spencer interviewed at RNC, for what it's worth. I spoke to the woman and asked if she was press and she said no; I think she might have been part of a delegate contingent; I don't recall.

 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Triggered in Cleveland

I saw a few media and political celebrities this week, but felt none of the excitement of celebrity recognition until this happened. Otherwise disastrous trip redeemed.

Trigglypuff leading the parade. Suck it, Geraldo.

Pro Trump Immigrant Entrepreneur

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Alex v the Anarchists

Thanks to the reader who pointed out to me video can be easily rotated in a video editor. I also found
the first part of the encounter between Alex Jones and some young communists:

 

Seen on the Street

I was walking down the street, trying to decide if the young woman gathering her things from a sidewalk cafe table was Michelle Fields, when a man approached her from the other direction.
"Hey, Michelle Fields!" He says. She sort of acknowledges him as a minor nuisance, and he comes toward her quickly--threateningly so--and starts heckling her about the Corey Lewandowski faux-scandal.
"I won't leave a bruise on your arm! I won't leave a bruise on your arm!"
She starts yelling some version of "get the fuck away from me" and a guy I hadn't noticed before steps in between them and does the same. A few bystanders break it up, and that quickly it's over.

Holding the Floor

The most coherent speaker of the day, by my reckoning:

 

Joyeux Noël

Not exactly German and British soldiers calling and unofficial Christmas truce, but I was heartened to find political opponents in Cleveland playing an impromptu game of capture the flag.

 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Open Carry Crew



My exchange with this reporter at the end here:

"I'm a reporter. Look me up."
"Who are you? I read a lot."
"I'm a reporter."

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Rambling

I doubt Barack Obama's a "secret Muslim". If he's a secret-anything it's a secret atheist. He's feigned Christianity in a longtime American tradition--and will likely be one of the last to find that a necessity, to no small part due to his own successful efforts to demographically "transform" America. I wonder if he relishes that thought.

But he's unique in having economically piggybacked a traditional political necessity, feigned Christianity, onto one of his own choice (and becoming its own tradition), feigned blackness; it's as if the Reverend Wright's church was created just for him, a safe space for him to learn to be black.
If Barack Obama is a believer in anything beyond Barack Obama, it's Blackness. And Blackness has been very, very good to Barry.
But this is all old hat.

I was thinking of the oft-quoted, and misquoted, paragraph from Obama's slick second book, The Audacity of Hope (there's the Reverend again, in the kitsch title):

Of course, not all my conversations in immigrant communities follow this easy pattern. In the wake of 9/11, my meetings with Arab and Pakistani Americans, for example, have a more urgent quality, for the stories of detentions and FBI questioning and hard stares from neighbors have shaken their sense of security and belonging. 
They have been reminded that the history of immigration in this country has a dark underbelly; they need specific assurances that their citizenship really means something, that America has learned the right lessons from the Japanese internments during World War II, and that I will stand with them should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.

He means he'll defend them from such as "internments"; fair enough. But reading this I think I see past the ghostwriter, past the notes, to the man on the cover, and I can't help but think the quote kind of reveals how he's he's congenitally incapable of seeing the world through any but the political lens. Barack Obama, ironically, has to be understood as being very narrow-minded.

It's all "political winds" to him, and while he makes as if standing on principle against their "shift" in an "ugly" direction, and even believes it, his political career was built on and is committed to fanning political winds; which he sees as naturally converging, from all directions, on a white core swept up in the ensuing tornado. He knows it isn't the wind at all but entirely about where you stand. As he said.
 If Obama through his signature racial justice effort Black Lives Matter has achieved anything, it's having disabused all but the most naive of us that anything in our democracy will be settled by consensus derived from appeal to objective principle. It will be won by hook and crook. Objectively speaking, I believe it's better if it's won by traditional white America and allies, and not the hip hop faction, but I no longer make appeals to objective principles regarding racial justice. It hasn't worked for my entire lifetime.

Black Lives Matter is not a travesty and crime because they've gone too far, or because they exaggerate a just cause, but because they are wrong, front to back. No one is allowed to say publicly it's not that "racism" is exaggerated, but that it's a bogus concept. Black people have done more than anyone to reveal that. As awful as that sounds to tender ears, it isn't the worst of it.

 It isn't merely that BLM is objectively wrong in its analysis and charges and outrageous in its demand; it's enough that BLM has marked out a line--in blood--identifying themselves as an entity committed to violence against white Americans as such. That's all that's needed. After that, I don't care if they're right; I don't care that they genuinely, and stupidly, believe we are committed to violence against them. We did not mark out this divide but we can't ignore it; but that's multiculturalism: many such divides, none of the majority's choosing, there to bait it into the inevitable conflict, for which it will be blamed.

But that's a peculiarly Western masochistic predilection--to appeal to our fellows on behalf of those who have a historic grievance against us. Any people with a sufficient self-preservative instinct would understand, for instance, that any validity to an historic claim to the American Southwest harbored by Mexicans is all the more reason to keep them out of there. Other groups defend themselves to themselves; whites defend themselves to God.

I honestly believe Obama and his ilk haven't the intelligence or character to see the evil. They are true believers and that explains their white-knuckle grip, somewhat, on the Narrative. Barack didn't find Jesus in that church because he wasn't looking. Did he find blackness?

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Cognitive Dissonance and Cowardice

When Lavish "Diamond" Reynolds live broadcast the death of Philando Castile some whites were puzzled by her calm demeanor in the circumstances, narrating events in a stereotypical ghetto monotone normally associated with passive aggressive customer service agents of a certain demographic. When I saw it on Twitter I thought at first it was a hoax; Reynolds comes across as a bad amateur actor. Her behavior is not normal. Anyone can see it's calculated. But no person of consequence dare say that, obviously. It looks suspiciously like Reynolds' calm is callousness and that she was quickly taking advantage of the situation. In the 'hood she would be described as One Cold Bitch. You have to admire the steely nerve it takes. I know: how dare I. Yet still.

The average white American still projects onto blacks as a group and individually his own innate sense of normalcy, produced over centuries of culture and evolution and reflected, for the time being, in the laws and customs of, for instance, the United States.

The average black American projects onto whites a cruder innate sense of value and normalcy, produced by the same processes. That's why blacks presume the worst intentions of whites regardless of good faith efforts. Much political agitation is subsuming the humiliation and frustration of living under restrictive and unnatural white norms, hence black America's continuing obsession with individual authenticity.
Anti-racism, armed with disparate impact theory, hasn't a chance. In the post civil rights environment of moral license, it can only chase black misbehavior downward and drag us to some extent along with it.

The consequences of this are now proving disastrous. Black behavior gets worse the longer it's un-moored from white norms, and one result is the daily urban body count. For those few, such as the president, capable of seeing and making the calculation, the carnage of an unrestrained black America must be an acceptable price of autonomy--perhaps they even understand its value, as a bludgeon by which whites are shamed into granting more autonomy, more accommodation of the black norms it represents.

 I appears few black leaders make this nuanced a calculation; they are either true believers or indifferent hustlers. White leaders like, well most of them, operate at a higher level of moral corruption. For the individual black American, authenticity and group autonomy are justly sources of pride, as they should be for anyone. But something's always got to give. In Obama's and Hillary's America it's--but of course--whites and all their decency, that is, White Privilege.

To accommodate black norms to achieve equality white America has been gradually conditioned to accept that which it once found revolting, collectively and individually. And it's killing us.

The problem is clearly that black America places a much lower value on life and property than white America, combined with a much higher value on group loyalty and honor.

Black Lives Matter is black America, with much help, trying establish a precedent: we can kill as many of ourselves as we want, as many of you as we want, but you can't kill one of us.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Narrative Autopilot in Antebellum America

The Orlando massacre aftermath was like something out of that satirical black comedy about the Left's embrace of Islam. You know, the one that will never be made (because Hollywood may be a whore but she's no bigot!): Isis achieves a stunning success, striking American soil in the worst attack since 9/11, and before the day is out the story is co-opted by the gay left to use against Trump and, um, the homophobia of his "Muslim ban". Or something. Anything. Also, he scurrilously took advantage of this act of Islamic terror by warning of Islamic terror and is now increasing Islamophobia, and the further threat of Islamic terror by having warned of--not that this was an act of Islamic terror; that doesn't really exist because No Real Muslim is a terrorist. And over here we have guns...

It all happened so fast the celebratory gunfire must have had to be interrupted, the poor devils standing there still with AKs raised skyward and stunned looks on their faces when the word came down: the mennuke cocksuckers have hijacked the narrative!

It's hilarious. But something sinister has happened. A frustrated ISIS got the message and let us know. Hell, everyone got the message. For the media to pay attention and direct the terror--the whole point of the violence--they should pick on the straight whites. Normal Americans are fair game now, everyone else jockeys for their place in the grievance hierarchy.

The gays have deliberately pushed the majority in front of the trolley--and not necessarily to save gays from terrorists (the gays who rule the country, more or less, aren't cramming into Latin night at a shitty disco in Miami, anyway) but to advantage themselves generally in their broader war against normality generally and Donald Trump specifically. To the extent their actions make us all less safe, they of course only serve to make gay Americans less safe. To salvage the mess of pottage that is a bad news cycle, the gay Left sold you out.

The common thread running through feminism, gay rights, multiculturalism, all of it, is betrayal.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Signs and Portents

We all prefer the idea of a principle to its application.

I think that explains somewhat the actions of white (is there any other kind?) ethno-masochists and their "leapfrogging loyalties"--abjuring white identity and responsibility for their co-ethnics in favor of a romanticized Other, usually conveniently remote (less and less so as a result of the policies the pose enables). The ferocity of their attacks now, the open hatred, affected or genuine, of whites as whites by whites is a bizarre new reality that defies explanation. After Orlando went into the Narrate-o-Matic and came out a "homophobic" slaughter--to the comic dismay of ISIS, whose violence the American progressive left had co-opted--one can only conclude the American left is conditionally allied with foreign terrorists.

 "Virtue signalling" relates to this, and provides a textbook example of Saussurean theory's "signifier/signified" distinction. Adopting a ready-made sign--which can be as little as a logo on a tee shirt or name-check in conversation--now often provided by commerce ("Whole Foods", "Apple", etc.) the bearer/referrer broadcasts a suite of the signified: good taste, liberal beliefs, sound health, etc. Professing the right views works the same way. Problems arise only to the extent the views have noticeable consequence.

Obviously this applies for social and political opposites: a Trump hat signifies a whole different set. But there's a good reason "virtue signalling" became a term of derision for the familiar forms of leftist signalling. I think it's less that they're worse about it, and more that they are, for the moment, still holding the cultural and social whip hand. Convention, right now, is progressive; reaction is transgressive. Carrying a Whole Foods bag won't get your ass kicked (actually it can, but by the same urban thugs who might kick your ass for wearing a Trump hat).

The reaction to Trump and Brexit unmasked the complete contempt with which the Western elite views working and middle class white Westerners. Basically, they aren't just swearing off their poor cousins, they've declared an alliance with their cool new diverse friends against them. I hate to say it, but it's all so white.

But we don't talk about it; we are unable to tell this story because it's a sequel to another story never told. America never debated, in all the earnestness, corruption and stupidity of our civil rights "journey", the justice or wisdom of destroying the concept of noblesse oblige within the white American community. Indeed, civil rights necessitated--and still does, more than ever, only now it's taken on the form of a rout--the pathologization of it, as "white privilege". From here it appears if anything it's worse in Europe. This venerable and humane institution was routed and destroyed globally without a shot fired in its defense. Whether by design or not, noblesse oblige was replaced by civil rights; by a liberalism so vague and corrupted it's been driven--with all of us along for the ride--to the bizarre present, where such as the Orlando attacks now prompt half the country to blame Islam and the other half to blame the half that blames Islam.

Now we're on to the next stage, where elites are no longer merely indifferent to us (how brief this period was), they are now hostile; working class white losers are making the good white peoples' life difficult. They lead lives not worth noting in communities not worth saving, and their absence will be a blessing.
"Money is being lost!" elites wail like angry mafiosi, when they've expended every other line.

Ethnic diversity doesn't just increase inter-ethnic conflict by its very nature, it creates and maintains intra-ethnic division for the majority population. And that division is largely caused by an imperious elite allying with ethnic foreigners against ethnic kin and fellow citizens.

Globalization is largely about shucking off noblesse oblige.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Breaking Political Winds

Well, how did [we] get here?
--Talking Heads

After Orlando President Obama's position is clear and, as he and supporters (including the Republican establishment) see it, non-controversial: we've decided to create a larger Muslim population in America as part of a process of ethnic diversification for its own sake as well as economic growth; attacks such as Orlando will have to be endured to achieve that goal, but we'll lessen their severity through greater surveillance, stricter gun laws and early suppression of any right wing reaction to this policy or its effects.

(There's another version of this that holds the increasing Muslim population not a deliberate undertaking but an inevitability contingent on economic necessity or due to the impossibility of restricting migration; this you often meet with in person-to-person encounters, expressed with a shrug and shift of subject)

The president and House Speaker Paul Ryan did what politicians must do after tragic events of political consequence (if often lost in or deliberately disguised by all the conspicuous sorrow): they identified the political and social battle lines created or reinforced by the event, declared where they stand in relation and offered policy solutions.

Remarkably, the political and media elite are nearly unanimous in taking the occasion to denounce Trump and his "Muslim ban" and in dictating that our energy shall be put to addressing a proximate cause of the massacre (guns) while opposing, as bigotry, the identification of Islam as the ultimate cause. It isn't wild-eyed to suggest they are allied against us with the Muslim world. And they do this without a hint of doubt. Is there a historical precedent for such people as these?

President Obama and Paul Ryan unite to ally with Islam against their ideological and cultural domestic enemies--basically, middle-class whites. This alliance was always there, and is revealed in tragedy when their shared core goals are threatened. When it's time to fall back and defend the fort, the Republicans and Democrats find themselves in the same place. Donald Trump turned over the political rock and this is what he exposed.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Mediocrity and its Discontents

Via Ed West on Twitter, this remarkable find by Heterodox Academy garners Judge Macklin Fleming a first-ballot entry into the I-told-you-dumb-bastards Hall of Shame:
...Heterodox Academy member Amy Wax sent us the text of an astonishing letter written in 1969, at the dawn of racial preferences, from Macklin Fleming, Justice of the California Court of Appeal. Judge Fleming had written a personal letter to Louis Pollak, the dean of Yale Law School. Fleming was concerned about the plan Dean Pollak had recently announced under which Yale would essentially implement a racial quota – 10% of each entering class would be composed of black students. To achieve this goal, Yale had just admitted 43 black students, only five of whom had qualified under their normal standards. (The exchange of letters was later made public with the consent of both parties; you can read the full text of both letters here.)
Judge Fleming explained why he believed this new policy was a dangerous experiment that was likely to cause harmful stereotypes, rather than reduce them. His argument is essentially the one that Jussim and I made 47 years later. Here is what he wrote:
The immediate damage to the standards of Yale Law School needs no elaboration. But beyond this, it seems to me the admission policy adopted by the Law School faculty will serve to perpetuate the very ideas and prejudices it is designed to combat. If in a given class the great majority of the black students are at the bottom of the class, this factor is bound to instill, unconsciously at least, some sense of intellectual superiority among the white students and some sense of intellectual inferiority among the black students. Such a pairing in the same school of the brightest white students in the country with black students of mediocre academic qualifications is social experiment with loaded dice and a stacked deck. The faculty can talk around the clock about disadvantaged background, and it can excuse inferior performance because of poverty, environment, inadequate cultural tradition, lack of educational opportunity, etc. The fact remains that black and white students will be exposed to each other under circumstances in which demonstrated intellectual superiority rests with the whites.
But Judge Fleming went much further. He made specific predictions about what the new policy would do to black students over the years, and how they would react. Here is his prophecy:
No one can be expected to accept an inferior status willingly. The black students, unable to compete on even terms in the study of law, inevitably will seek other means to achieve recognition and self-expression. This is likely to take two forms. First, agitation to change the environment from one in which they are unable to compete to one in which they can. Demands will be made for elimination of competition, reduction in standards of performance, adoption of courses of study which do not require intensive legal analysis, and recognition for academic credit of sociological activities which have only an indirect relationship to legal training. Second, it seems probable that this group will seek personal satisfaction and public recognition by aggressive conduct, which, although ostensibly directed at external injustices and problems, will in fact be primarily motivated by the psychological needs of the members of the group to overcome feelings of inferiority caused by lack of success in their studies. Since the common denominator of the group of students with lower qualifications is one of race this aggressive expression will undoubtedly take the form of racial demands–the employment of faculty on the basis of race, a marking system based on race, the establishment of a black curriculum and a black law journal, an increase in black financial aid, and a rule against expulsion of black students who fail to satisfy minimum academic standards.
If you read Judge Fleming’s predictions after watching the videos of student protests, and then reading the lists of demands posted at TheDemands.org, the match is uncanny.
I'm glad the good judge isn't here to see just how effective his predicted black political agitation has been; so successful it's adopted by other groups such as Hispanics, similarly mismatched by affirmative action. Likewise feminism and transsexual activism provide natural outlets for students with nothing to draw from real study but frustration. One can be a mediocre student or noble victim.
 The judge's predicted black radicalization not only came to fruition, it spread like a contagion--because it works, and it works by taking failure to the disparate impact bank and cashing it in for victim points--the same dysfunctional dynamic keeping black civil rights--and black concerns--front and center always in American politics.

Failure and alienation are the common bonds making allies of feminists and Muslims, transsexuals and Blacks, foreigners and fat fetishists; the unstable and the unable united in an axis of mediocrity waging war on excellence in academe and beyond. Failure and alienation have become the point of progressive theory, and whether that's always been the intention is almost beside the point. It seems to be an inevitable result.

But social justice, particularly on the campus, is where blacks and other "underrepresented" groups are over-represented and hold greater influence, where the reverence and deference, particularly for blacks, with which they are treated is being elevated to ritual. For an individual so favored this must be heady stuff, and leaving this environment must come as a shock. Social justice exists in large part so people who didn't peak in high school get a second shot in college. Of course everybody sees they'e just getting a worthless participation badge, so they must distinguish themselves, within the progressive theory framework, and the way to do that is to be angry about oppression, ideally your own. The competition to stay must be brutal, and likely explains the professorship's increasing radicalism, as radicalism itself is the point.

My limited contact with second-tier institution student activists confirms the impression I (and I imagine a great many others) get watching them on YouTube and elsewhere: they're not very smart. Of course they're emotional. But's hard to tell how much is honest and how much is affectation; it's hard to tell how aware many of them are themselves of this distinction, as they work themselves into a frenzy because it's what they're expected to do. The "special snowflake" explanation only goes so far also; they may speak the language of social justice when they wring another "safe space" out of an institution, but their subsequent glorying and redoubled disdain reveal they understand what is happening, and they love it: they are wielding power. They're more scary than scared, and they know it. They delight in it.


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Black and Brown and Done All Over

About ten years or more ago I read a feature in the New York Times profiling some firm or other's attempt to cash in on Chicano gang aesthetics and culture in the same way black gang culture had been commercialized years before (most brilliantly perhaps in NWA's groundbreaking records, which were frankly sold as marketing innovations--"fuck the crossover, let them cross over to us" they declared). What ever happened to that effort? It fizzled. Seeing as the glorification of gang violence must have a feedback effect increasing gang violence, Chicanos are fortunate, perhaps, to not be as interesting to white people--and to Chicanos--as blacks are.

On the West Coast Hispanic still means Mexicans. "Chicano" may be a politically freighted term, but I like it--it distinguishes the native-born Mestizo from Mexican nationals. And come to think of it, you don't really hear the word that much anymore--they're squabbling over Hispanic v Latino, or Latino/a--and I suspect you don't hear the term as much because it distinguishes Mexican Americans from Mexican nationals and immigrants, and the narrative effort is all toward getting Hispanics to think of themselves as a homogeneous group, like blacks, united with others against American whites--whites globally, to be honest. Not to be too melodramatic about it. But then that's the thing, isn't it? It's getting harder to achieve melodrama.

But the follow-up profile, detailing the failure of this putsch, to that NYT story never showed up--and I do remember at the time a noticeable broader effort to--not normalize, but romanticize and cash in on Chicano culture, and implicitly, just as in the case of blacks before, cash in on the violence that is so much a part of that romance. And it all, as in that profile I can't find, was so blithe, optimistic even. But I suspect people then still expected a resolution to the black problem; we don't expect that anymore. And the cashing in just goes on.

Before that cynical effort, in the late eighties, there was a smaller commercial/cultural bloom for Chicanos with the film La Bamba (Which crossed the border into Mexico: I recall the title song blaring from cars in San Felipe, Baja that boozy summer.) Indeed, you can trace the Chicano cultural/commercial narrative's failing optimism arc across the peaks that are movie releases, rising with La Bamba and Stand and Deliver (1987, 1988)--the latter a sort of companion piece to Morgan Freeman's 1989 black uplift film Lean on Me--; optimistic, ultimately patriotic stories about Mexican Americans making the American Immigrant Journey, with Southern California standing in for New York and Ellis Island; and falling with Machete (2010) which I haven't seen, but will safely assume is neither optimistic or implicitly patriotic. And we won't see optimism again.

Of course in those same late eighties was born gangsta rap and the same hardening of black and brown attitudes that wasn't going unnoticed entirely--1988's Colors about black and Mexican gangs fighting in LA was sufficiently pessimistic, but, like those success-story films document the last, best effort to write a wholesome narrative of upward mobility for black and brown, documents the coming phase that would replace it, as one of the last films to allow a franker, non-self conscious white perspective on the problem of race.

It's hard to imagine such as Dennis Hopper's film, told from the point of view of two white cops, both admirable, being made now without being hobbled by critical race theory chains. My favorite moment from the film wouldn't occur to a filmmaker today--the two white cops are sitting in the back of a black community meeting between an earnest ex-gangbanger/social worker and residents. As the meeting breaks down in the predictable cycle of threats and recriminations (much milder of course than what we would expect today, notably), the scene ends with the two white cops breaking into grins at the predictable black hijinks:



Black and brown attitudes were hardening under cultural happy talk and the oblivious machinations of American commerce as the nineties came along, shocking complacent whites when exploding into our consciousness with the Rodney King riot. People forget that after the initial explosion of the first day, the riot was dominated by Mestizo Angelenos looting the retail stock of south central LA and beyond side-by-side with blacks who had been attacking them on the streets the day before. But the shock, to whites--at least in my experience and forgotten now like our shock at the maliciousness of LA's blacks--was at the mendacity of the Mexicans, so many of whom had to be legal and illegal immigrants. People were showing their true colors; that of blacks, terrifying, of browns, tawdry. Of course we never spoke of it because we'd already been relieved of our point of view; pre civil rights the news reports would have taken for granted their point of view was white American. There was at least some implicit recognition of a valid white American point of view left when the Rodney King riot started (and may have been killed off by it). Now that much isn't possible of course, and is keenly watched for by the narrative police.

But there's a lot of ruin in a degrading right to speak freely. It's taken us a while to get from the enforced politeness of Seventies television, exemplified for me by the Norman Lear sitcom, to the grim self-abasement of the present.
 Of course it isn't that there's no "freedom of speech" regarding race--now non-whites are encouraged to outdo one another speaking their minds, such as they are, about race. It's really a question of point of view--who's allowed their own point of view, who isn't. Another way of saying whites aren't allowed an identity in identity politics is that whites aren't allowed an explicit point of view.

Leftists' struggle with "intersectionality" is largely trying to order the hierarchy of point of view in their growing production. Ideally, the order the Left would will places Whites at the center of a sort of reverse panopticon, surrounding by the interrogating, relentless gaze of immobilizing points of view. But the various mobs they employ just can't help themselves in hating each other.

Anyway, I was surprised at the relatively late date of this video I came upon of Michael Richards apologizing for having called an obnoxious heckler the Dread Word in 2006:



It's as if you can see here the precise moment white people were no longer permitted to laugh about race, as the audience assumes a gag is in play and Seinfeld, worried for his friend, has to chide them to stop laughing. Richards nearly panics (ironically, the comedian panics at the sound of laughter), seeing the hole he's in about to be filled up with dirt, and compensates, perhaps, for it by prostrating himself with the sort of manic effusion so common now, where an artful enough apology draws its own reviews--Jonah Hill's successful abjection (2014, "faggot", paparazzi) got raves, sagging Johnny Depp's offering out of Australia (albeit for dog-smuggling, not hate speech) this year was a mini-flop in the series of flops he's enduring.

Richards might have been trying to lift or even reference the Lenny Bruce routine from Bob Fosse's Lenny:



Imagine trying to pull that off today! If the blacks hadn't torn him to shreds the internets would the next day. And the hopeful "imagine" conclusion: if we just open up (our speech!) our troubles will go away! The "hip" and "controversial" Bruce had no clue! He was trafficking in kitsch the whole time! It's all so, what's the word...?

Losing the right and eventually the ability to laugh is tantamount to losing the right or ability to think clearly about something. Maybe that has something to do with the way that right to speak and ability to think about race, for whites, is being reclaimed on alt right Twitter, with joy and humor.