NMAAHC & The Pendulum

I was recently amused to learn that Washington D.C.’s National Museum of African American History and Culture has taken it upon themselves to define ‘whiteness. My first thought was, surprisingly, from the leftist parlance: cultural appropriation. My next thought: Please tell me no Anglo-Saxon-themed museum has responded to this by defining ‘blackness.’ Yet, however ill-conceived or ill-fated this attempt to define may prove, my knee-jerk reaction to it was ultimately unbefitting of the attempt’s gravity. Like individuals in Sherlock’s presence, a great deal of useful information can be extrapolated from them, despite the fact that it is not the information they hoped to convey.

Perhaps the most visceral part of the definition, a graphic titled ‘Aspects and Assumptions of White Culture in the United States,’ has very recently been removed. Thankfully, I had a suspicion that this might occur, so I saved it in order to reproduce it here under Fair Use. You may find it at the end of this post.

To summarize that graphic, it defines the main aspects of whiteness as: individualism, the nuclear family, the Scientific Method, Greco-Roman/Judeo-Christian/European culture, Protestant work ethic, and (paraphrasing to condense) capitalist ambition/competition.

Despite the fact that there is nothing controversial or surprising within these aspects, I found myself having to re-read them several times. After all, I was not reading a web page by a white supremacist group–this was produced by an organization rather the opposite (one hopes, anyway). So why, when I was expecting to be chastised or at least criticized for my ‘whiteness,’ was I being complimented at every turn? I considered and quickly ruled out that I was being patronized. No, the authors are quite sincere. The plain fact of it is that the NMAAHC meant for me to feel critiqued by these aspects. To them, these aspects are insults. Cue Led Zeppelin’s ‘Communication Breakdown.’

Rather than laud any of these aspects–seeing as how they have already been so thoroughly explained and defended in Tarnas’s Passion of the Western Mind, Pontynen and Miller’s Western Culture at the American Crossroads, and (less intellectually but more viscerally) in the cultural triptych formed by the King James Bible, the Complete Shakespeare, and the Lives of Plutarch–I would like to briefly dwell on their opposite or alternative. I would render this list as: collectivist, unscientific, anti-work and/or anti-goal-oriented, pagan, socialistic, no emphasis on the value of time in accordance with its finite nature (RIP supply & demand), group AKA mob or vigilante ‘justice,’ and devoid of logico-literary-communication.

Now, perhaps it is just me, but when I stare at the list of anti-‘whiteness’ aspects we’ve just constructed, it seems to me that we have merely described the Bronze Age. Now, I have nothing against that Age objectively. Subjectively I would only return to it kicking and screaming. But objectively I suppose I’m glad it happened, what with the linearity of time. I’m not going to dwell on this Bronze Age issue much more, because I don’t want to strawman the NMAAHC by pretending they are calling for the opposite of their ‘whiteness.’ Certainly they are not, because by their own definition of ‘whiteness,’ American museums themselves are arguably a product of ‘whiteness’, and thus they as an institution would have to disband in order to accomplish their own strawman-goal. Since they have not, we may assume that is not their goal (unless they are blatant hypocrites).

None-the-less, the fact remains that they are either:

  • passive-aggressively critiquing the aspects of ‘whiteness’ without providing viable alternatives
  • or, implying the alternatives to ‘whiteness’ by defining ‘whiteness’ and leaving one to imagine its opposites as we just have.

In the first case, they would effectively be those pseudo-revolutionaries who know how to destroy with no intention or ingenuity to create afterwards. In the second case, they would be akin to what I can only render as Rousseauian primitivists–viewing the Bronze Age as more romantic than the USA’s present situation, while lacking the character to voluntarily abandon their present situation ala the Amish, or Chris McCandless, or immigration to another country closer to their ideal. I will go no further in psychoanalyzing them, since it is impossible to narrow down which option is more likely from afar.

Besides, these two possibilities are roughly comparable in the following sense. The first is like a petulant child that breaks but cannot fix; the second is like a petulant child that dreams but will not do. Both, in adults, are states of spiritual dwarfism, reeking of the resentment that Nietzsche lampooned as:

You preachers of equality, the tyrannomania of impotence clamors thus out of you for equality: your most secret ambitions to be tyrants thus shroud themselves in words of virtue.

Actually, pagan Nietzsche perhaps doesn’t go far enough. I believe there is another quote more consistent with the latent resentfulness herein, when one considers the absolute havoc that would portend a Bronze Age-ified United States:

So farewel Hope, and with Hope farewel Fear,

Farewel Remorse: all Good to me is lost;

Evil be thou my Good…

That, of course, is Milton’s Lucifer speaking.

It dawns on me that this is probably why the political pendulum is never static for long. The Rightwing in power becomes a trite broken record, fretting over how to endlessly Conserve values when those values have no valid threats. The Leftwing, on the other hand, develops a moral panic or maladaptive perfectionism that ultimately eats itself, because Progress’ing eventually becomes the sole value, even when it calls for Progress’ing away from crucial victories already attained. Thus those who wholly depend upon and exist by virtue of, say, free markets or scientific methodology or Justice Systems (Hobbes’ Leviathan?), come to feel very clever indeed when critiquing those things as though they can do better, without having demonstrated even the slightest evidence that they can in fact do so. This is perhaps, as the Brits say, on the tin, since ‘Critical Theory’ suggests the pitiable state of being a critic

Critic. n.

A person who boasts himself hard to please because nobody tries to please him.

-Bierce, Devil’s Dictionary

In parting, I would like to concede the following.

1. I do not believe that the presence of melanin or lack-thereof can actually/literally/Objectively be assigned any metaphysical quality. In other words, in the same way that I do not believe a black Labrador has ‘blackness’ beyond the fact that it is colored black, or that a white Labrador has ‘whiteness’ beyond that fact that it is colored white, I do not believe that much of anything is conveyed by the coloration of human beings beyond the utility of ‘look at that white guy over there’ or ‘look at that black guy over there.’

2. Insomuch as one disagrees with #1, I consider one to be bigoted, regardless of what coloration they are pretending to elaborate upon.

3. However, insomuch as the NMAAHC’s description of ‘whiteness’ could be accurate if they were correct–I would admittedly be proud to have or be that ‘whiteness.’

4. Yet, seeing as how this ‘whiteness’ is obviously a metaphysical construct separate from mere unalterable coloration, one must concede that these are qualities any person could potentially possess, meaning it is a matter of character rather than ‘race,’ and thus should not be called ‘whiteness’ (unless one wishes to reference the Biblical use of whiteness as symbolic of innocence and/or redemption).

5. Insomuch as the NMAAHC has made any person whom is not ‘racially’ white feel that they are disqualified or less qualified to achieve the aforementioned characteristics of ‘whiteness,’ I consider them to be a net negative upon humanity that ought to cry themselves to sleep each night in shame.

6. This recent collective resurgence of racial obsession is just a byproduct of the economic ruination caused by the coronavirus lockdown. Per historical norms, the lower classes are beginning to blame and scapegoat one another for the ruin brought upon them by their upperclass overlords. Insomuch as anyone perpetuates this blame-game, I find it stunning and regrettable that you were the quickest sperm.

whiteculture_info_1

How to Lose when You’re Ahead

Roughly 48 hours ago I predicted with confidence that police would emerge from the George Floyd backlash empowered, due to the dismal optics of protestors-as-thieves-and-arsonists. However, I did not account for the post-traumatic collage of excessive force that they have since gifted to the media. A male-on-female groping, resulting in her recoiling, which provokes a beating; shooting out the eye of a homeless wheelchair-bound man with a rubber bullet; shoving the frail Martin Gugino to concrete for daring to stand in their presence, & then quitting to show solidarity with those officers disciplined for said action.

I have since watched the latter clip in slow motion several times, transfixed by the body language and telegraphed motion of an officer who appears to want to beat Gugino with his club after he has fallen, only to be casually dissuaded by another. Not only is Gugino in no danger of getting up; blood is clearly flowing from his ears. Nonetheless the instinct is to ‘finish the job,’ like a rule from Zombieland.

How could anyone want to show solidarity with that? The answer is, I fear, quite simple. The officer is genuinely ‘just doing his job.’ He is an outsourced violence specialist, salaried with the tax dollars of American citizens who would rather not do their own dirty work. It is not we who should be mystified by his actions. It is he who should be surprised that we have so suddenly resolved that we no longer require his sanguine services.

Or so we like to tell ourselves. In truth, the average American citizen has never been further removed, logistically or mentally, from the actual monstrosities that we have (up to May 25th, 2020) tasked our law enforcement with facing. Some of it, certainly, can be remedied in a more intelligent fashion (drug legalization would evaporate drug cartels, for example). But the fact remains that there is a massive ‘out of sight, out of mind’ at play here. Having police be little more than glorified customer service representatives may work in homogeneous and/or unarmed populations. But to defang and declaw law enforcement in a country as contentious and heavily-armed as this is, at best, a way to make sure only robots are crazy enough to take a policing job. At worst, consider what happened in Little Village, a predominantly Hispanic portion of Chicago, but on a much larger scale. Seeing no particular reason why their stores should be emptied and burned, or their Abuela terrified in her own home, just because George Floyd was killed, the Village quickly became a No-Go zone ala Europe–except those who were being ‘told’ No were African Americans and white Antifa instead of police.

I would like to humbly suggest that causing heavily-armed white areas to ‘police themselves’ by dint of defunding actual police, is probably not the best way to reduce racial violence.

How to Lose a Revolution Before It’s Begun

It wasn’t until I impulsively clicked on an MSNBC livestream out of Santa Monica that it dawned on me. I had assumed the position of effete American leftists–especially in the media–would be to endorse an attitude of ‘anything goes’ regarding the George Floyd backlash. But there they were, bemoaning the destruction of The Sake House and gasping as rioters tried to pull a hose out of a firefighters’ grasp. A guest commentator even noted that every box of free sneakers carried out of shattered windows is another few thousand new votes for Trump. In short, their take (that these are bad optics with the potential to put civil rights back incalculably) was indistinguishable from the take being given on Fox News.

Homogeny among MSNBC and Fox, I pondered? What is this–9/11? Traumatic imagery seems to be the only way to shift the fairly indifferent Silent Majority of U.S. moderates in a particular direction. Just days ago, one would have assumed the imagery in question would be, and would remain, Floyd’s murder. The total destruction of a Minneapolis police precinct came and went without batting an eye. Fair enough, the collective consciousness whispered. But the ensuing footage, like B-roll from The Purge, wherein familiar streets and amenities are pillaged and plundered against the Floyd family’s wishes has proved a bridge too far. The message is clear:

BLM, Antifa–you can burn police stations if you want; they can fend for themselves. But don’t you lay a goddamned finger on my Starbucks & McDonalds.

The uniquely leftist way of saying this is, arguably, “Sure, Black Lives Matter–but can’t they Matter without inconveniencing me?”

This reaction, though surprising even to a cynic such as myself, isn’t at all unprecedented. The American psyche is not at all as unpredictable and bipolar as its political extremists sometimes make it seem. At the end of the day, it is a corporation-country. Sometimes you have to indulge a strike, maybe even some Luddite sabotage, but eventually everyone is going back to work, or else.

The fact that the National Guard has not yet been ordered to open fire on looters (despite hollow tweets to that effect) perhaps signifies that the corporation’s patience still has reserves. I think this patience is due–sad to say–to the arguable fact that the role of these looters within said corporation is to wind up in prison. And wind up there they shall, no matter how many times our benevolent bosses decide to let them go. Even if a few get to keep their new plasma TVs and stay free long enough to enjoy them, what is that compared to the astounding budgetary benefits police are going to gain from these temper tantrums? We thought they were militarized before? What do you suppose they will look like once every station is outfitted to repel a city-wide assault? We may have meant to say to police, ‘look here, stop killing unarmed civilians!’ But what they heard was, ‘hey, become so terrifying that you don’t have to kill unarmed civilians.’

As for Trump, the only way he doesn’t get 4 more years* is if he is no longer corporeal (and if that happens, the Republican fallback may well be the Fascistic nightmare that American leftists have long fantasized Trump is). He is getting his Conservative Supreme Court, the NRA is going to eat other special interest lobbyists’ lunches for decades to come, and any newfangled economic recovery methods he (or should I say Jared) thinks up is getting passed. Optional: Israel finishes its plans for Palestine, knowing they will never have a better opportunity again.

Walking to a vandalized church, Bible in hand…God, that’s good. Our Left have been so worried about ‘institutionalized racism’ that they forgot the possibility of causing its far more personal renaissance. They spoke of the devil until he appeared. Although, this time around I expect it will be far more class than color based. The days of the bedsheet wearers are behind us; the days of those with something to lose making sure they are ready to dispatch any irksome have-nots has only just begun. The corporation is restructuring, and our urban department is about to get downsized.

RIP George Floyd. RIP Tony Timpa.

 

*…OK, if they hijack Biden at the convention with an Oprah/Obama ticket, it won’t be that easy.

The Crowning Achievements of Coronavirus

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Obligatory documentation of the empty toilet paper aisle (suburb of Atlanta, GA).

  • Staying at home and ordering in is an act of heroism in the developed world.
  • Staying at home and ordering in is too much to ask of some Americans. Wonder whether the people who attended Spring Break during corona-season are more or less likely to be drunk drivers?
  • Referring to a virus by the country of its origin is racist. Time to issue reparations to Spain.
  • Trump didn’t do enough.
  • Trump did too much.
  • Trump caused corona.
  • Thanks, Obama.
  • The fear of not being able to wipe one’s anus comfortably is worse than the fear of starvation (somebody tell these people that bowel movements cease during starvation, please).
  • For those who do fear starvation, Southerners prefer alcohol and chips where Northerners prefer soda and frozen meals. How can my fellow Southerners be more obese but have less appreciation for caloric density?!
  • Bill Gates left Microsoft to team up with MIT on solving this problem. The solution? An infrared visible tattoo that administers vaccine and testifies to the fact that it has been administered. Great. ‘Papers please’ wasn’t enough, we needed to go ahead and incorporate The Mark of the Beast. It wasn’t sufficient that the Dalai Lama has been displaced, Muslims cannot make their pilgrimages, Jews are rumored to have begun reconvening a Sanhedrin upon the birth of the long-awaited perfect red heifer, etc, etc. We needed to start beta-testing the key premise of how the Antichrist will rule the world. Mr. Gates, I know those DMT clockwork elves you encountered at all those Eyes Wide Shut ‘summits’ told you to do this, and that they’re some benevolent talking-to-Jody-Foster-in-Contact aliens, and that you can help them usher in the next stage of human evolution, but unless you consider Dante’s Inferno to be a great vacation pamphlet, it’s time to pump the breaks.
  • 2008 taught us that if a bank is sufficiently ‘big,’ the United States government will not allow it to fail. 2020 now adds the realization that, because these big banks would fail if their corporate debtors defaulted, the businesses they loan to cannot be allowed to fail either. This seems to have given birth to the first purely verbal internet meme in memory: “We have privatized profits and publicized losses.” This wide-spread realization, that the average citizen is required to pull themselves up by the bootstraps, while captains of industry and their financiers are infinitely coddled, is–it seems an understatement to say–the stuff revolutions are made of. Indeed, I am left to ponder whether this meme will eventually be cited alongside “Let them eat cake” in the history books. The fact that this cat has been let out of the bag (more of a tiger) has not entirely escaped the powers-that-be, for instead of a brazen ’08 style bail-out they are now taking public stake in the companies they wish to save. Though no less of a catastrophic precedent to set given enough time to play out, this does at least feel a bit more honest. Instead of having politicians bail out the businesses they are shareholders of, just have their government own them outright–saves on money manager fees. And if that’s not good enough, send a pittance of Fed monopoly money to the masses so they don’t start constructing the guillotines quite yet. I am left feeling numb at the realization that we appear deadset upon discovering a sci-fi dystopia Worst of Both Worlds: small business capitalism alongside Big Business socialism, and no hint of irony in sight.
  • Farmer and trucker unions should reorganize into massive, 99% bank-indebted corporations ASAP.