Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Fraught and Bothered

Steve Sailer contextualizes an Atlantic Monthly blog post as "historical racism porn":
‘Dinnertimin’ and ‘No Tipping’: How Advertisers Targeted Black Consumers in the 1970s
In an attempt to reach African American customers, many U.S. businesses began integrating their commercials—often by relying on fraught stereotypes...
 
[ I call this one Kid with Big Forehead advances on Richard Pryor's Big Mac as Proud Parents look on]
SJW’s have been getting hot and bothered over this ad that ran in Ebony and Jet in August 1976 for the last three years. NPR’s CodeSwitch responded to this ad in 2014 with:
The Atlantic blog post is good but the NPR link is a better demonstration of a certain style rapidly becoming familiar, as social justice scribes chase links by providing various types of outrage porn; all confidence on one side, listing and categorizing transgressions like Tracy Flick reporting on someone in middle school, and on the other all obliviousness to anything not indulging the Narrative. The NPR blogger tries his best to put a comedic spin on the old point-and-sputter, but social justice just isn't funny.

What, McDonald's, implying they're all his kids? 

White privilege views the oppressed person of color asleep--safely inert--dreaming 
only of eating the oppressor's poisonous food before the daily exploitation of his labor!

The black ads condescend toward their black targets in pretty much the same way white ads of the time condescended toward whites, in different language; indeed, as they still do now, with more polish (and perhaps cynicism). The impression an objective observer gets looking through the ads in the NPR piece is that black ads took their audience to be confidently aspirational working class, cheerful and family-oriented. They give us an interesting glimpse of that confident time when legal barriers against blacks had all but come to an end, and it was assumed that soon blacks would be taking their rightful place in the middle class and beyond. The ads, and McDonald's seeking out of black business and franchisees, can be seen as part of a deliberate process to make that happen. To the extent black integration has failed and blacks have failed to rise to affluence on merit, these ads can also be seen as tragic artifacts of a promise unfulfilled, particularly the two above, showing young black men as hardworking and mentors of youth. NPR blowing a raspberry at them decades later doesn't seem fair at all. The earnest progressive thinks, all the while, he is providing context for the contextually challenged. Oh the collective balls on you, social justice warriors!

But the needs of supply are not the needs of demand. The writers are driven by ambition working within an echo chamber, all trying to outdo one another in advancing the always shifting progressive line. So the line gets pushed in the direction of ever more and stricter dogma, or "progress"; the incredible rapidity of the trans movement's advance is a result. There is only going forward now. Still, with little opposition left, social justice warriors charge into History like Soviet conscripts at Stalingrad with machine guns at their backs. There is a desperation there.

Perhaps some who question aspects of such as the Caitlyn Jenner farce are sublimating revulsion at the whole; it's genuinely hard to tell any more.
But what does the consumer of outrage porn need? Probably the same thing I need when I'm scrolling through my own daily outrage fixes at American Renaissance or Drudge. He needs respite from his indifference, but fears losing his faith by testing too much his premises. My hand's raised. He needs reassurance.

There are two prerequisites to a posture of respectability nowadays: outrage and indifference. The cultural weltanshauung feeds on continual outrage on behalf of a growing variety of oppressed groups; as a consequence the respectable must now accept a growing variety of behaviors and practices, some of which define the new identity groups, some of which are incidental to groups defined by ethnicity, but many of which are bad (and you would be allowed to notice if their recognition did not impugn the Narrative).

Communicating one's blithe indifference to the problems of the bigoted, incapable and uptight is a means of projecting status. Only the weak, mentally and materially, worry about immigration, or black crime, or the definition of womanhood, or whatever is coming next. But conforming to current attitudes is also a way to maintain one's self image, a necessity of vanity.
Today's worldview provides one with the conceit of a very Western sort of duality: the independent strength of your indifference, redeemed by a tender concern for the victimized. It is, sadly, heroic.

The current political tyranny suppressing dissent demands indifference at a minimum: one can be silent (still) about dogma or the latest lynch mob, but he cannot question--and he must not mock. But indifference is also a personal necessity; there is simply too much about which one should rightly be outraged. (Our ancestors before the communications revolutions were shielded from the sufferings of people on other continents, and likely had enough of their own; we, with few sufferings our ancestors would recognize, gaze out upon the present miseries of all humanity, benumbed.)

It's important to note ultimately what's being suppressed are effects of theory-driven policy. Theory arising from and policy driven by nurtured outrage. Outrage and Indifference are the yin and yang of the social justice (leaving "the" in there was an editing mistake, but I like it so I'll leave it; if I was king, "the social justice" would be its required designation).

So when the man who aspires to respectability and acceptance today is not feigning indifference he's professing outrage. But perhaps there's a more or less constant need for outrage, that actually varies little in size and nature but largely in subject.

GK Chesterton:

“Do not be proud of the fact that your grandmother was shocked at something which your are accustomed to seeing or hearing without being shocked. ... It may be that your grandmother was an extremely lively and vital animal and that you are a paralytic.”

But the raw material of humanity doesn't change that drastically, and our Janus-faced social justice warrior is probably no less or more lively and vital than grandmother. Indeed, in the current state of affairs he is continually agitated by diversity demagogy on one hand and affronted by diversity's demands on the other--demands he is continually conditioned not to think of as "demands" but debts, in arrears, out from which he can never fully repay.

He has to regard so much and much more to come which he cannot be expected to anticipate, with indifference. He is not even allowed to anticipate a point beyond which he isn't willing to go; it is eternally TBD. We should go gentle on the deluded.

But the continuing erosion of cultural potential is the sinister subplot to all this silliness. Less and less is allowed as more and more are offended; and people are celebrating that. Progress for the left is measured in prohibitions. And progress is on the march.

One of the ads that set NPR off like a Victorian granny perfectly communicates just one of the small, vital things these people are hacking away at every day in their zeal; joy:



Wednesday, June 03, 2015

The Fake's Progress

It's worthwhile to compare the other "iconic" Vanity Fair cover

Woman

with Caitlyn's curious spread

Man

From the ultimate image of womanhood to its ultimate caricature. 
Moore's deliberately immodest cover offered pregnancy as a feminist provocation: you can't do this.
Caitlyn's celebrants, twenty four years later, would be outraged.

In seizing immediately upon socio-political platitudes, Moore's defenders missed the point in the same way Caitlyn's evade it today. She was not, for instance, showing us a pregnant woman can still be "sexy"--quite the opposite! (The controversy is perhaps difficult to appreciate after the last quarter century of delirious Progress, but it was that a pregnant woman was striking a sexual pose--and on the cover.) Pregnant Demi was a parody of lithe and desirable pre-pregnancy Demi. The real defiance lay in the fact it's decidedly not sexy; her state stops men in their always lusting tracks. She's off limits, dammed-off, "knocked up." She's  there to thwart and mock the searching male "gaze".

Pregnant Demi is woman having conquered; having captured a man's seed and bearing a complete soul in a belly swelling like the earth.  Man's paltrier conquest is over and done, and is only complete if he escapes; otherwise, the pregnant woman represents his capture and the tyranny (and uncertainty) of paternity and domesticity. 
Woman's power lies in her possession of her children, and she never possesses them more--or suffers more by them--than when with child. Still women remain the most sympathetic audience the trans community has and I find this curious. Why are they--if indeed they are--so fully on board with redefining womanhood into oblivion?

Hoary theory about male privilege--as if patriarchy were a trick played upon the girls, rather than the obvious result of primitive necessity originating in, there it is again, pregnancy--is depressing and dull. Birth is anything but, especially for those capable of it; so maybe that explains feminism's cavalier attitude toward the co-optation of femininity. Dissuading pregnancy has become a necessity by implication for a feminist movement driven by yuppie women lobbying for greater advantages in employment. The necessity to deny biological origins for behavior, to create the illusion of imposed inequality, has taken down motherhood. The times are sinister.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Privacy is Racist

One reason political correctness has been an operative force in American politics is because it can be re-purposed to serve all manner of ends. The political component of the second Iraq War began as opportunistic hysterics, focusing the outrage created by 9/11 on Saddam Hussein and Iraq, but it wasn't long before the liberal interventionist plot was grafted onto the narrative. This one-two punch had the advantage of combining two seemingly diametrically opposed appeals: one to fear and loathing, and one to altruism.
At the group level it draws together two disparate factions united in political action, with some somewhat dishonest overlap. At the individual level it appeals to two powerful disparate impulses: fear and anger on one hand and altruism on the other. The contradiction between them seems to strengthen rather than weaken the effectiveness of this alliance; they complement more than cancel each other. If one's resolve for revenge should weaken, he can rally his spirits with the conceit he's doing "good".
As anti-racism shows no signs of letting up, we can expect seeing the anti-racism angle shoe-horned, in ever more absurd ways, into contentious debates. One I haven't heard before today is this: every one of us must sacrifice the same measure of privacy so that no one is singled out for the "wrong" reasons, such as being Muslim or otherwise statistically more likely to engage in terrorism.

Salon:

Perhaps to those like Sen. Rand Paul who’ve never had to fight assumptions based on one’s ethnicity or the color of one’s skin, the thought of cell phone data being pooled and analyzed is disconcerting. However, as someone who regularly puts up with extra scrutiny, whether it’s at an airport or a shopping mall, I welcome the leveling of the playing field that bulk data collection brings.  I urge our government not to follow the Russian method of profiling, but, instead, to use bulk data collection to arrive at objective analyses.

Because what do the Russians know about spying?

Spying is acceptable if every single one of us is under surveillance. Everybody gets dipped in shit, so no one can complain about being dipped in shit.

Of course part of this is just Salon's deep disdain for (or fear of) Rand Paul. The article is accompanied by not one but two photos selected, National Enquirer style, to make the man look ridiculous.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Hillary Clinton, Intellectual Heavyweight

Hillary Clinton is apparently channeling Eleanor Roosevelt through the idiot-lens:

At a dinner last November, Clinton mentioned that she had recently watched the Ken Burns documentary on the Roosevelt family and saw how Theodore Roosevelt worked with “imbalances that were in the economy and in society.”

It's going to be an entertaining, if profoundly depressing, summer.