The latest rumor circulating the Bachelorsphere is that the last “Bachelor” Matt James is back together with his recently-wrapped season’s front-runner Rachael Kirkconnell, whom he dumped in disgrace after internet trolls dug up purportedly racist photos of the sorority girl at an antebellum-themed college party.
“It’s been a while but here’s some news: Matt and Rachael? Yeah, they’re not over. They’re currently in New York together. FYI,” tweeted Reality Steve on Tuesday night after somebody snapped a photo of what is allegedly the pair walking together in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn.
The buzz about Matt and Rachael is truly fascinating as it comes only three weeks after the cringiest episode of “After the Final Rose” in “Bachelor” history, in which romance took a backseat while race issues were front and center. Matt and interim host Emmanuel Acho — who was tapped to host the finale after Chris Harrison got canceled for initially asking for grace for Rachael before folding to the woke bullies — put Rachael through an on-air struggle session. The conversation was egregious, and it ended in Matt telling Rachael that their relationship wouldn’t work because of her “not fully understanding” his “blackness” and Matt refusing to initiate a “final embrace.”
The Matt-Rachael rumor also comes on the heels of news that current casting for another franchise spin-off, “Bachelor in Paradise,” is not going so well, as Bachelor Nation stars are hesitant to jump on board the turbulent train of Hollywood wokeness.
“Casting has begun and some members of Bachelor Nation are apprehensive to sign up,” one “Bachelor” insider told E! News. “Some are wondering what direction the season will take and are curious if it will strictly focus on contestants falling in love.” If the next run of “Bachelor in Paradise” looks anything like the last “Bachelor” season, fans can expect the focus to stray from contestants falling in love to land instead on progressive politics.
“Many people are declining due to the current state of Bachelor Nation. A lot of people are removing themselves from the franchise,” reportedly added another source.
At this point in the franchise’s progressive purge, it seems the options are for the stars to remove themselves or be removed — just ask Chris Harrison, who hosted the show for nearly two decades and then got the boot for saying essentially the same thing as his replacement host before resorting to groveling pathetically to keep his post. It’s hard to blame potential would-be contestants for walking away. Who wants to be the next victim of a rose-strewn struggle session?
Wokeness ruined “The Bachelor.” It watered the franchise down to the worst version of itself and became repulsive even to woke millennials desperate for Instagram fame. Anything the show had going for it in the way of mindless entertainment has now been replaced by insufferable leftist dogma and cancel culture landmines that nobody wants to navigate for fear of blowing up their life and reputation on national television and being remembered as nothing more than the next fill-in-the-blank controversy.
And for what? If the rumors about Matt and Rachael turn out to be true, which many fans of the show have said would not be surprising, the main takeaway will be that the girl at the center of this year’s biggest pop culture racism scandal will ride off into the sunset with her black boyfriend.
You didn’t solve racism, Hollywood. You effectively matchmade the first black bachelor and his prejudiced lover. Was destroying the franchise worth it?
We got a peek into the future of woke diversity on March 23, when Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) announced that she was so mad at the Biden administration for supposedly neglecting Asian-American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) that she wouldn’t vote to confirm any more of Biden’s non-minority appointees.“I will vote for racial minorities and I will vote for LGBTQ, but anybody else I’m not voting for,” she said. “Until then, I am a ‘no’ vote on the floor on all non-diversity nominees.”
Explaining her stance, Duckworth recalled that she had been on a conference call with White House staffers and had complained about this alleged lack of diversity.The response that came back was not at all satisfactory to Duckworth: “The first words out of the staff mouth was ‘We’re very proud of Vice President Harris,’ which is incredibly insulting.”
One might wonder why it’s insulting to bring up the heritage of Harris, who is a woman and half-Indian and half-Black, and thus plenty diverse; she was after all the first person Biden chose last summer for his administration.And yet Duckworth said that to her the Biden staffer’s words were a “trigger.”
We might step back and observe: Who knew that Illinois, typically thought of as a middle-of-the-road state, had in fact elected one of the woken?(Or could it be that Duckworth is mad that she was not selected as Biden’s running mate, perhaps in part because she was making radically woke comments?)
Interestingly, Duckworth’s boycott of Biden nominees was immediately endorsed by a second AAPI lawmaker, Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HA), who has long complained about supposed underrepresentation of AAPIs.
For its part, the Biden administration was in no mood to get into a fight with two Democratic senators, and so White House press secretary Jen Psaki issued a softly worded statement:
The President has made it clear that his Administration will reflect the diversity of the country. That has always been, and remains our goal.The White House will add a senior level Asian American Pacific Islander liaison, who will ensure the community’s voice is further represented and heard.
Reporting on this story, the Washington Post observed, “The White House did not immediately respond to questions about who might fill the role or whether it was a new position.”And the newspaper added dryly, “The White House has for several years had a liaison to the AAPI community.”In other words, we don’t really know whether or not Sens. Duckworth and Hirono actually received any concessions.
Yet for her part, Hirono said that she and Duckworth did get concessionsAs she tweeted: “Based on the private conversation we had, I will continue voting to confirm the historic and highly qualified nominees President Biden has appointed to serve in his administration.”
Based on the private conversation we had, I will continue voting to confirm the historic and highly qualified nominees President Biden has appointed to serve in his administration.
So the two senators are now mollified and will continue to say “yea” on all of Biden’s picks, just as they always have.
Still, the tiff raised eyebrows, as it played to the stereotype of Democrats as being obsessed with identity politics, thereby inverting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous phrase; that is, they are now more interested in the color of one’s skin than in the content of one’s character.
Reaction to this diversity drama was swift.On The View, Meghan McCain commented:
I think this is a very, very slippery slope.I was surprised to hear Tammy Duckworth saying it like this.She got a lot of blowback from a lot of people, not just on the right.I think this is actually just the natural progression of identity politics. . . . Is identity politics more important than the qualifications for the job?
And on Fox, Tucker Carlson ripped Duckworth’s thinking as “morally repugnant” and even “illegal.”
Even a Democratic-minded tweeter added this word of warning:
I genuinely like Tammy Duckworth. The woman is a legit hero but the game she’s playing is ridiculous and feeds into every perception that the GOP wants to create of dems.It is silly season.
Indeed, the feeling that Duckworth and Hirono have taken Democrats in a dangerous direction extends even to the not-very Republican precincts of Washington, D.C.For instance, Politico’s “Playbook,” a morning guide for the Beltway perplexed, observed on the 24th:
The Democratic infighting over diversity is manna for the GOP.Administration officials want to keep the focus on hitting their vaccine goals and throwing money into the pockets of millions of Americans.Republicans want to put them on the defensive over culture issues.
So we can see: The hard-nosed political play-callers at “Playbook” think the Democrats have blundered, handing Republicans a potent wedge issue.Then “Playbook”added this further note of warning to Democrats:
The ordeal surfaced something that’s been bubbling for years.The Democratic Party holds up diversity as a key value and embraces intersectionality—but realizing that vision is much more complicated as more Americans (rightly) demand a seat at the table.
Okay, so Diverse Americans are demanding (another) seat at the table.And yet who—who, exactly—gets a seat at the table?And how is that seating arrangement to be determined?Moreover, how is what’s on the table going to be apportioned?
We might start by trying to figure out who exactly should be included in the Biden/Democratic vision of the AAPI “community.”That’s not so easy to determine because Asia consists of no fewer than 48 countries, and it’s a safe bet that there are Americans who can trace their lineage to each and every one of those four-dozen states.
Moreover, separate and distinct from Asia, 15 more island-countries dot the Pacific Ocean.So who should represent all these Americans at the Biden diversity table?Which individual?Or which group?
Moreover, does it really make sense to say that Americans who hail from places as disparate as India, Vanuatu, China, and Japan—and 59 other countries across Asia and Oceania—form a “community”?
As an aside that speaks to the futility of lumping diverse people into a presumed unitary community, one is reminded for the 1891 Sherlock Holmes story, “The Red-Headed League,” about a putative confederation of redheads.Yet the whole point of the story is that there is no such thing as the Red-Headed League; it’s just a convenient ruse—and that only makes sense, as redheads don’t necessarily have anything about which to be in league.
Still, the Democratic Party is locked into its diversity vision, and as the 2020 election results show, Democrats can indeed win while pledging full-woke diversity.
However, it remains to be seen whether the Democrats can govern while actually enacting diversity policies of the type that Duckworth and Hirono have championed.
That’s the key distinction: Mere talking about being woke is one thing, actually doing it is another. Why?Because the sort of skin- and gender-testing that woke Democrats favor is profoundly unbecoming in the eyes of most Americans, and so an emphasis on distributing power according to strict ethnic and sexual categories is likely to boomerang at the ballot box.
For instance, the city of Oakland, CA, led by Mayor Libby Schaaf, a Democrat, just announced that it would pay a $500-a-month benefit to city residents—but not to white city residents, no matter how impoverished.One must question, to be sure, whether such a race-based policy is even legal, and yet there’s no question that it’s bad political optics for the nation as a whole.
So Republicans might ask: Do other Democrats agree with Schaaf?And wouldn’t the GOP do well, in contrast, to keep emphasizing the basic principles of color-blindness and equal protection under the law?
It’s no wonder that some shrewd observers see long-term danger for the Democrats.One such is economic populist Matt Stoller, a former staffer for Sen. Bernie Sanders, the democratic socialist from Vermont; last year, Stoller tweeted: “The Democratic Party makes a lot more sense if you imagine its agenda as that of a corporate HR compliance department.”
The Democratic Party makes a lot more sense if you imagine its agenda as that of a corporate HR compliance department.
As everyone knows these days, many corporate human resource departments are citadels of wokenism, delighting in tracking skin-color and gender categories.Stoller is saying, in effect, that the Democratic Party would rather worry about racial and gender justice—as it defines those words—than worry about basic issues of economic, regional, and sectoral power.
And then there’s Glenn Greenwald, another man of the left, who tweeted earlier this year, reinforcing Stoller’s argument:
The Dems are a neoliberal party which serves Wall St & corporate power. They are overwhelmingly led by extremely rich people who serve these power centers.Touting diversity is how they try to hide that, and bad-faith bigotry accusations are how they punish those who report it.
We might pause over some of Greenwald’s words: “Touting diversity is how they try to hide”—hide, that is, their devotion to woke plutocratic masters.To put it another way, an extreme emphasis on woke diversity changes the subject from other concerns about the social contract, including jobs, wages, and working conditions.
So what should Republicans do in response?One strong answer comes from Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who on March 25 introduced legislation that would prohibit the U.S. military from teaching “critical race theory,” which is, of course,a subset of wokery.
Cotton’s bill is unlikely to become law any time soon. Even if a few moderate Democrats could somehow be persuaded to go along with it, thereby enabling it to pass in Congress, Biden would presumably use his veto.
And yet still, in raising this issue, Cotton has performed a genuine service.That is, the public will find out which side lawmakers are on. Are they with the race-and-gender-measuring wokesters?Or are they with the American ideal of color-blind equal opportunity?
By all means, let’s see that question debated in 2022—and in 2024.
A USA Today “race and inclusion” editor was fired this week for using her professional Twitter account to report flagrant disinformation in the wake of a mass shooting. In response, she wrote a lengthy Medium post that briefly admitted “regret” for her “careless error in judgement” but focused mostly on how the corporate press is allegedly “subservient to white authority.”
In the wake of the mass shooting in Boulder, Colo., Hemal Jhaveri exchanged tweets with Deadspin senior editor Julie DiCaro.
“Extremely tired of people’s lives depending on whether a white man with an AR-15 is having a good day or not,” DiCaro wrote. Jhaveri replied, “it’s always an angry white man. always.”
It was not, in fact, a white man. The suspected shooter is a Muslim of Middle Eastern origin, having been born in Syria. In her Medium article, Jhaveri describes her post as “a dashed off over-generalization, tweeted after pictures of the shooter being taken into custody surfaced online.”
Of course, that amounts to the “race and inclusion” editor of a major purportedly objective publication getting basic facts about race incorrect on a professional platform in the wake of a mass tragedy. She didn’t get facts about the budget wrong as a smalltime fashion blogger. She got one major fact directly related to her job wrong on a big story.
Would I have fired her? Maybe. But it hardly seems like an unreasonable decision given that her job as a journalist is to convey accurate information specifically about race. The tweet demonstrated a clear question of competence.
Jhaveri complained of a double standard, claiming on Medium, “White USA TODAY reporters have been able to minimize racialized people in print, our white Editor-In-Chief was thoughtless about black face, and a senior politics editor (also white) showed disregard for journalistic ethics by hosting a tax payer funded reception for Trump appointees. All kept their jobs.”
“Sending one wrong tweet that ended up in the hands of Sean Hannity on Fox News though, was enough for this publication to turn tail,” she added. “So many newsrooms claim to value diverse voices, yet when it comes to backing them up, or looking deeper into how white supremacy permeates their own newsrooms, they quickly retreat.”
Notice how Jhaveri minimized her error, deflecting to assert “white supremacy permeates” the USA Today newsroom like the office full of coastal liberals is Bull Connor’s campaign headquarters. This is where Jhaveri’s Medium rant becomes a useful document. Here’s how the post ends:
We’re never going to see real change in newsrooms unless editors allow for their writers, and BIPOC writers specifically, to freely critique white structural relations. The fact that many newsrooms still view that as “bias” is a saddening and dispiriting fact.
Like many places, USA TODAY values “equality and inclusion,” but only as long as it knows its rightful place, which is subservient to white authority.
Here’s the most important sentence, “The fact that many newsrooms still view that as ‘bias’ is a saddening and dispiriting fact,” with “that” referring to writers to “freely critiqu[ing]e white structural relations.”
This sentiment is representative of the cultural left’s insistence that everything outside its own radical worldview is necessarily bigoted and necessarily wrong. Thus, to Jhaveri, it isn’t bias, it’s as a clear a moral position as opposing murder. That’s also why people like Jhaveri operate on much broader definitions of bigotry and “white supremacy” than the general public. In their rigid progressive-or-bigot binary formulation, all disagreement embodies and perpetuates bigotry and must have no voice.
Fish don’t know they’re wet and media leftists don’t know they’re biased. They swim in the waters of ideological consensus to the point where they don’t realize certain aspects of their worldview represent ideological bias. Jhaveri’s contention in that Medium post is Exhibit A.
Sadly, however, by inflating these definitions beyond the point of public recognition and consensus, media leftists leave readers feeling implicated in KKK-level bigotry. That’s not only confusing, it’s wrong and enormously divisive. Jhaveri is doubling down. No doubt most of her ideological travelers with powerful media jobs will do the same.
Fifteen years after the first “Real Housewives” franchise appeared on March 21, 2006, some of Bravo’s biggest fans are rendering the network’s brash reality fare impossible. Just this week, for instance, the network apologized for airing an episode of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” that featured Kenya Moore dressed in Native American costume for Halloween. (Moore says she has Native American heritage.)
On Instagram, Bravo apologized for the episode, writing in part, “We had hoped it would provide a teachable moment, however in retrospect it is clear that the network did not address this properly given the gravity of the situation. We apologize to both the Native American community and our audience as a whole.”
Bravo is naturally a progressive network with a progressive fan base — even if that base doesn’t represent the broader audience. Emboldened, however, by the recent wave of social media activism, Bravo bloggers are tirelessly scrutinizing reality television stars, holding them to the same impossible standards of moral purity and cultural leftism they expect from politicians.
This is performative, but it’s also based on a misunderstanding of the genre. Reality television stars are antiheroes. They most often showcase the worst of us, and only a truly delusional viewer would think otherwise. Of course, they have some nice moments, made all the nicer by the contrast. But if you’re watching “The Real Housewives” to see women of upstanding morals act morally, you should… stop.
Such standards are impossible, but they also defeat the purpose of reality television. On “Vanderpump Rules,” viewers see beautiful narcissists drunkenly slap each other in Vegas. The effect is not to glamorize their idiocy, it’s to reinforce our shared understanding of idiocy and its sources. The glamor heightens the instructive contrast of indulgence and sin.
It says something about our culture that this is a matter of any confusion. Now, of course, it may seem obvious that people are confused by this. I think it is. The Kardashians were first pitched to us as a modern “Brady Bunch.” For all its prior savagery, corporate media has lionized the “talentless” ever since. But Bravo’s biggest fans should know better. Indeed, their humor, poetically packaged in meme form, is predicated on the antihero model.
Given that Bravo executives were morally opposed to Moore’s choice, they treated it exactly right by airing her costume with disagreement from others in the cast. Unlike the Kardashians, the housewives were never intended to normalize modern standards of behavior or present their antiheroes as paragons of virtue. That’s been clear since the “Real Housewives of Orange County” premiered 15 long years ago this week. We can no longer have the “teachable moments” that Bravo hoped for with Moore — or with Luann de Lesseps’ Diana Ross costume — because the left’s standard-bearers are not humble enough to engage in conversation or concede they could learn from their opposition.
Bravo’s superfans are mindlessly putting the network in an untenable situation. The pressure is leading them to transform their shows into clashes between politically moral cast members and ignorant ones. Shep Rose referred to Leva Bonaparte’s “finger-wagging” on the last, miserable season of “Southern Charm.” Bonaparte spent the better part of the season awkwardly creating opportunities to lecture her castmates on political correctness during the tumultuous summer of 2020.
It was contrived and grating. Of course, Kathryn Calhoun Dennis, a woman who has two children with troubled former cast member Thomas Ravenel, doesn’t have the racial politics of an Oberlin graduate. Forcing her to performatively adopt them drains the show of its authenticity. While viewers generally wish her the best, they don’t want to be like her. She’s a giant case study in what not to do, along with basically every other star on the network. But Bravo’s strategy to deal with its critics clearly involves planting “finger-waggers” like Leva on nearly every franchise, people whose central value to the show is their politics and not their personality.
Some housewives and Bravolebrities have partially transcended the antihero model along their journeys, like Bethenny Frankel and Kandi Burruss (who, by the way, took Moore’s side this week). But they’re exceptions. There is no point in holding Kim Zolciak-Biermann or Kelly Dodd to woke standards or even any moral standards at all. Their stardom is predicated on breaking all of them and upholding their own glaringly dubious moral code.
Everyone “yass kweening” Jen Shah after her social justice posturing at the “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” reunion, for instance, was in for a rude awakening when video emerged that appeared to show her verbally abusing her staff in recent months. Even when the housewives embrace leftist politics, they’re still complicated and deeply troubled.
It’s amusing but also irksome to watch legitimately hilarious and very popular Bravo fan accounts constantly meme the moral failings of the housewives, then turn around and demand they be better. It misses the point. Actually, it’s unintentionally an argument against the point.
The point is that the culture of our elites is corrupt and decadent, fueled by an immoral incentive structure. While I disagree, I am completely open to the argument that watching these shows poisons our minds and boosts that incentive structure. But the reason the show sprang up just before the recession hit is that the culture of decadence already existed and Bravo was smart enough to realize people would be entertained by documenting it.
The best way to see the “Real Housewives” is as Big Edie and Little Edie Beale. They may not all be living in physical squalor, but they’re coping with the delusions of elite society, desperately seeking to keep up appearances while being consumed by their decadence.
It’s why Bravo makes for much better television than “The Bachelor.” Until recently, there has never been any suggestion these cartoonish matriarchs are protagonists. It’s always been the opposite, an opportunity to gawk at the dangers of 21st-century indulgence. Of course, that’s one layer of the show’s appeal, along with the glamor and the drama. That’s all part of the fun too.
But this is why the memes mocking their stupidity and materialism and ignorance and vanity are funny. This pressure to comply with the far left’s ever-changing, increasingly rigid standards of political correctness is not just hurting Bravo, it’s hurting art in general, from comedy to cinema.
So why are Bravo’s biggest fans breathlessly demanding the highest standards from the women they mock? It’s partially because they want access, sure, and partially because they really believe in those standards. But a more likely cause is their fear of watching a show full of problematic women without publicly opposing their problems. In our anti-nuance media climate, the only acceptable way to deal with antiheroes is public flogging. That flogging reflex makes it virtually impossible for Bravo to continue capturing the moral depravity of our elites.
The world has changed quickly since we first met the Orange County housewives 15 years ago. Bravo’s content has given us a window into the ultra-wealthy’s clumsy efforts to grapple with those changes. If the network’s online fanbase gets its way, that window will close entirely.
It’s now been nearly three weeks since Dr. Seuss erupted into the news.Yes, the eruption is a bit strange, as the famed children’s book author died three decades ago.And yet the story is important because in it we see two things: First, the zealotry of left-wing cancel culture, which made the choice to pick this fight, and second, the power of center-right backlash in response.Yes, when confronted with the abnormal, it’s necessary for normal people to fight back.
Moreover, as the Seuss Saga plays itself out, we are seeing that while the left can win the first battle, the right can win the war.
Ironically, the man behind Dr. Seuss, Theodor Seuss Geisel (1904-1991), was a lifelong political liberal, even if he wasn’t politically correct, let alone woke.But then, how could he be?In today’s world, even the living have trouble keeping up with wokeness, which requires its devotees to abide by an ever-shifting checklist of approved and disapproved phrases and concepts; for instance, the number of genders keeps expanding; by one measure, we’re now up to 64.
In this Feb. 27, 1986, photo, Theodor Seuss Geisel, known as Dr. Seuss, talks to some children with his book “You’re Only Old Once!” at Barnes and Noble in New York. (AP Photo/Michael J. Pennacchia)
Summing up the impact of all this extremism in testimony before Congress earlier this month, Glenn C. Loury, a prominent Black academic, called wokeism “a formula for tyranny and more racism.”
So if these are the stakes—tyranny and, indeed, more racism—then it only makes sense that people of good will should wish to fight wokeism.And yet it turns out that when Republicans do fight the woken, they are mocked. For instance, The New Yorker, that citadel of smug liberalism,made fun of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for bringing up the issue of Dr. Seuss, while allegedly neglecting to talk about the Covid relief bill that was passed last week.In fact, McCarthy put his vote where his mouth was; he voted against that bill, and was not shy about why: “It showers money on special interests, but spends less than nine percent on actually defeating the virus.”
In the meantime, McCarthy felt perfectly capable of expressing himself on both fiscal and cultural issues.Yet even so, on March 11, the queen of the woken, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), tweeted:
This week in Congress:
Dems: Passed $1.9T COVID package to deliver stimulus checks (w/ dependents!), cut child poverty in half, extend $300 UI, prevent cuts in state + local services, largest-ever investment in Native communities, etc
So we can see: The left is trying to laugh away the Dr. Seuss issue.And thatimmediately inspires the question: Why is the left, which picked the fight in the first place, now so eager to bury it?Could it be that the left senses that attacking Dr. Seuss was overreach?
In response, the right should use this as a teachable moment for the nation: Behold the woke left and its works.
Indeed, the Dr. Seuss issue persists, because it’s interesting, and also because it’s revealing; that is, the cancel-culture aspect of wokeism reveals much about how the hard left sees the world. And that worldview is scary, even to many Democrats.For instance, it scares Sarah Silverman, the comedian who loudly supported Bernie Sanders in both 2016 and 2020.Obviously, Silverman is on the left, and yet in the past few years, she has become vexed by censorious hyper-leftism; recently, on Instagram, she raged against “absolutist-ness,” calling it “such a turnoff to me.”She added, “It’s so f ___ing elitist.You know, for something called ‘progressive,’ it allows for zero progress.”
It’s in this harsh light that we might consider other recent eruptions of wokism (which goes by other names, too, including political correctness, critical race theory, identity politics, intersectionality, and successor ideology), and such eruptions include the fights over the toy Mr. Potato Head, the cartoon character Pepe LePew, and the wrongly accused blue-collar workers atSmith College.
We might also observe that in each of these cases, the left started the fight.That is, it was the woken who found something they didn’t like and sought to crush it.Indeed, it becomes a cruel ritual of purging and scourging, all part of “the religion of identity politics,” in the mordant phrasing of gay conservative Douglas Murray, author of the new book, The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity.
Yet because this process of metaphorical book-burning and witch-hunting is so unseemly to the public, the woken often shrink when exposed in their wokery.Why, precisely?Because widespread exposure makes them look like crazy people, and this revelation can be costly.
Indeed, such was the case, for instance,with journalism professor Melissa Click, who was fired from the University of Missouri for seemingly demanding violence (although all was not lost for Click, as she was soon hired at another university–Gonzaga alumni, please take note).
In this Nov. 9, 2015 frame from video provided by Mark Schierbecker, Melissa Click, right, an assistant professor in the University of Missouri’s communications department, confronts Schierbecker and later calls for “muscle” to remove him from the protest area in Columbia, Missouri, where he was reporting on the protest. (Mark Schierbecker via AP)
When the left is caught overdoing its wokeness, it attempts, AOC-style, to stymie the criticism by mocking the critics.At such moments, the new party line then becomes, “Those silly right-wingers, look what they’re worried about now. Don’t they have anything better to worry about?”And the answer is that rightists do have better things to worry about, and yet sometimes, it’s necessary to drop everything and come to the defense of history and tradition—especially when it’s such revered figures as Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt who need defending.
In the meantime, the rest of us might ask: Don’t woke leftists have anything better to do than attack U.S. history, and by extension, the U.S. itself?And since the answer is that they obviously don’t have anything better to do, patriots must rally in opposition to the next round of statue-toppling and history-erasing.
Culture and History First, Then Politics
As the late Andrew Breitbart always said, “Politics is downstream from culture.”That is, today’s cultural fight is tomorrow’s political fight.
We can add, too, that the past is upstream of the present; that is, past events have flowed down to us today.And that’s one reason why even children’s author Dr. Seuss is important–because all history, including cultural history, teaches us something potentially useful.Sometimes we might look upon an historical event and say, “Yes, we should be inspired by that,” while at other times, we can look and say, “Let’s never make that mistake again.”Either way, and at all times, history is important; as the Roman statesman Cicero observed:
To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?
And yet if we have such knowledge, we can be adults, participating in the shaping of our culture and the making of our politics.More recently, the 19th century English philosopher and journalist William Godwin explained:
Make men wise, and by that very operation you make them free. Civil liberty follows as a consequence of this; no usurped power can stand against the artillery of opinion.
Such should be our goal: To be wise enough to form our own opinions, thereby doubling our resolve to defend our God-given, as well as constitutional, rights.And so that’s why we can take our stand—not so much to defend Dr. Seuss and everything he ever wrote or drew, but rather, to defend our right to read Dr. Seuss and to decide for ourselves.No woke overseers needed.
Breitbart News founder Andrew Breitbart speaking at an event in Beverly Hills, California, on June 12, 2011. Breitbart’s famous dictum was that “Politics is downstream from culture.” (David McNew/Getty Images)
In fact, in the case of Dr. Seuss, Americans have been actively defending their right to read.In the days after Dr. Seuss’ cancellation, his books soared to the top of Amazon’s best-seller list; indeed, as the Associated Press reported on March 11, Dr. Seuss sold 1.2 million books in the first week after the partial cancellation, more than quadruple the total from the week before.
Okay, so what about the specific banned Dr. Seuss books?They’ve been selling, too.As of March 20 on Amazon, one of the forbidden works, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was selling for $200, and some prices have been much higher. The sudden high price is perhaps the result of Amazon’s algorithm reacting to the sudden surge in demand, although one can’t rule out a little opportunistic price-gouging. In any case, such high prices for Dr. Seuss send a clear signal to the crookedly entrepreneurial, and so counterfeiters will soon spring into action. Already, in fact, it’s easy to find dubious PDF versions on the web.We should note, of course, that such sites come with a strong warning of Buyer Beware. And yet at the same time, it seems readily apparent that human curiosity—combined with human greed and the willingness to flout copyright laws—will make sure that the entire Dr. Seuss canon will always be available.
We can observe, incidentally, that much the same thing happened after the HBO Max streaming service pulled the 1939 classic Gone With The Wind; DVD sales soared.And the same sales spike held true for lesser films threatened with cancellation, such as Disney’s Swiss Family Robinson.Indeed, even sales of humble Mr. Potato Head jumped 70,000 percent in the wake of the news that Mr. P. would soon be emasculated.
Books by Theodor Seuss Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, including “On Beyond Zebra!” and “And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street,” are offered for loan at the Chinatown Branch of the Chicago Public Library on March 2, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. The two titles are among six by the famed children’s book author that will no longer be printed due to accusations of racist and insensitive imagery. The other titles include “If I Ran the Zoo,” “McElligot’s Pool,” “Scrambled Eggs Super!” and “The Cat’s Quizzer.” (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
We can add that this snapping up of endangered cultural items speaks to more than just a desire for historic preservation.It also speaks to the desire not to be pushed around, including the simple desire to push back against noxious authority.
Some times, to be sure, this pushing back can seem knee-jerk, even mindless.For instance, there’s that well-known scene from the 1953 Marlon Brando movie, The Wild One, in which a woman asks the Brando character, “What are you rebelling against?”And he answers with a shrug, “Whaddya got?”
That sort of automatic defiance of authority grew stronger, of course, in the following decade.In fact, in 1967, the Beatles captured that contrary spirit in their simple and yet melodic song, “Hello, Goodbye”; sample lyrics: “You say yes, I say no/ You say stop and I say go,” and “I say high, you say low/ You say why and I say I don’t know.”
Most recently, the French Charlie Hebdo magazine produced a cover cartoon on Meghan Markle and Queen Elizabeth that’s guaranteed to offend many, even as it makes others laugh.And yes, that’s the same Charlie Hebdo that suffered an Islamic terrorist attack in 2015, leaving a dozen dead.After such an awful massacre, the mere fact that the magazine is still publishing is a testament to the resilience of human resolve.(Good taste, of course, is a whole ‘nother issue.)
To be sure, not everyone appreciates the orneriness, even perversity, of the human spirit, and yet it’s woven into our nature—and it’s a deep source of our love of liberty, as expressed, for example, in such resonant phrases as Live Free or Die, Don’t Tread on Me, and Molon Labe.
As the playwright Bertolt Brecht argued, “In the contradiction is the hope.”Indeed, if we look at the thumb on our hand, we see the profound value of contraposition–because in the thumb opposite our other four fingers, we see a highly sophisticated tool for grasping things and for solving problems.
The Thin Red Line
Some might say that the woken are winning.After all, those half-dozen Dr. Seuss books are still banned, and libraries are still pulling their copies.
Yet that’s the battle, not the war.That point was made on March 2 by ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel, who warned his fellow liberals that such ridiculous PC could bring back You Know Who:
This is how Trump gets reelected, by the way.Cancel Dr. Seuss, cancel Abe Lincoln, melt down Mr. Potato Head’s private parts and throw them at the Muppets.That is his path to victory the next time around.
And it’s not just liberal comedians issuing such warnings to their flocks.On March 10, New York Times columnist Thomas B. Edsall headlined his piece, “Democrats Are Anxious About 2022—and 2024.”Edsall, who is one of those old-line leftists more focused on class than culture, quoted a procession of academics and politicos concerned that the emergent cultural leftism of the elite would turn off the non-woke masses—who are, of course, a majority of the voters.
For instance, Ryan Enos, a professor of government at Harvard, told Edsall that “college-educated whites” are increasingly a liability to the Democrats “because they repel other voters from the coalition.”Enos added, “The views emanating from these [left-wing] cities and institutions are out of step with a large portion of the electorate.”
Speaking of electorates and elections, one is reminded of the 1884 presidential election, when Grover Cleveland won the White House.As one supporter said of Cleveland at the time, “We love him for the enemies he has made.”
So now today: The woke left has gone to battle against Dr. Seuss, as well as against so many other familiar figures and creations.Meanwhile, Republicans have come to the defense of them, in the name of our heritage—and of common sense.
So what now of the Democrats?It would seem that, fearful of AOC-type challenges from within their party—as just happened in Nevada, where far-left insurgents swept away the old political machine—most elected Democrats wish to only whisper their defense of tradition, if they defend it at all.
So that leaves Republicans to make a full-throated defense of our culture and heritage; we might think of the GOP as the Thin Red Line. And if that defense makes the GOP the enemy of the woken, so be it.And if so, then what was once said about Grover Cleveland might now be said about anti-woke Republicans: We love them for the enemies they have made.
Vance speculated that some criticisms of the film Hillbilly Elegy — based on his book — are rooted in left-wing rejection of the existence of struggle among white “working class” Americans. He noted that the reality of struggling whites in America profiled in his book and film is incompatible with the left-wing framework of “white privilege.”
“There is a narrative in our country, right now, that if you’re white, you’re privileged,” Vance stated, “and the idea that there is a family that is white, that is working class, that is struggling in ways that are identifiable to a lot of non-white Americans — and a lot of white Americans, too — is just not something the current cultural zeitgeist is comfortable with.”
Vance added, “They don’t like to think of people who are living in communities like mine — who look like my family — as struggling. Of course, many of those folks are [struggling]. That’s not what [those] people want to hear… This moment met the identity politics, the hyper-woke white privilege moment, and the the movie suffered from that, too.”
Vance warned that left-wing commodification of imaginary victimhood undermines the centrality of character in defining one’s path in life. He identified Meghan Markle’s recent interview with billionaire media mogul Oprah Winfrey as illustrative of this phenomenon. He noted how perceptions of victimization strip individuals of agency.
“This interview that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry had a few weeks ago … I was watching that and I was amazed by just how much whining and how much victimhood there was,” Vance remarked. “It is still the case that whatever circumstances you come from — even if you come from a pretty tough family like mine — traditional American values like hard work, like loyalty to family, like devotion to your country, like investment in your future, these things still do matter.”
Vance continued, “The message we send to kids when we have big celebrities going on television and whining to Oprah is, ultimately, that character doesn’t really matter, and thank God I got a different lesson for my grandparents, from the Marine Corps, from the community around me, because if I if I hadn’t gotten that message I would have had just a really tough life.”
Vance reflected on lessons from his military service as solutions to the seeds of racial, ethnic, and economic acrimony sown by left-wing politics. He highlighted the U.S. armed forces’ unification of a diverse swathe of Americans as an example of patriotism transcending race, ethnicity, and class.
“The Marine Corps was such an incredible part of my own background,” Vance shared. “I enlisted in 2003, so this is right … we invaded Iraq, and I served from from 2007, and what I often tell people is that the Marine Corps was this incredible experience in learned willfulness. There were so much helplessness in the community that I grew up in that was struggling, where the jobs had disappeared, people were struggling with drug addiction, and I had never been part of [a] powerful team where we were all oriented in the same direction. We all had the same goal, and there was this expectation that we could meet this goal together.”
He went on, “[The Marine Corps] also gave me this remarkable exposure to different parts of our country. Some of my best friends were guys from Puerto Rico. I had a good friend who grew up in a wealthy family in suburban Maryland. It was just this remarkable collection of Americans, but we were all Americans and we were all on the same team and that’s an experience.”
He concluded, “I think about [my military service] a lot, of course, in modern America, which is hyper-driven by identity politics, and I think that we could actually learn something from the way the enlisted military thinks about itself and its own identity.”
Breitbart News Daily broadcasts live on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern.
It’s very funny to leftists that conservatives are in a frenzy over Dr. Seuss. The emergent narrative casts Republicans as fools for obsessing about cancel culture, cynical operators and mindless rubes, whistling past the economic graveyard while Democrats focus on COVID relief.
For Democrats, this is counterproductive on two fronts. The murky term “cancel culture” broadly refers to the threat of personal and professional punishment for perceived transgressions against cultural leftism. First and foremost, the victims of cancel culture are not merely privileged journalists forced onto Substack. They are everyday Americans, working-class people, without the privilege to easily profit off their cancelation. Democrats have nothing to say to them, except that the Equality Act is essential and they must swallow it or be relegated to the cultural prison for bigots.
In this category, there are direct victims of cancel culture, people forced out of their work or social life over pro-Trump Facebook posts or whatever else crossed the ever-changing line that week. There are also indirect but immediate victims, like the thousands of girls now confronting “irreversible damage” done to their bodies because parents and journalists were too afraid to push back when schools started normalizing dangerous gender curricula in the name of political correctness.
Similarly, there are victims of domestic violence getting sleepless nights in women’s shelters where they’re forced to rest alongside biological men and middle-class girls losing out on scholarships to pay for their educations because biological men are beating them. There is absolutely nothing stopping these demographics from ballooning dramatically.
The second front on which this is a counterproductive position for Democrats is politics. Because these threats are very real to everyday people, everyday people genuinely worry about them. This is a big concern outside the Acela Corridor where Patreon subscribers are slightly harder to amass.
What’s the point of freaking out over Dr. Seuss? Isn’t it just a culture war fomented by Beltway MAGA cynics and their Fox-guzzling fans? After all, most of his beloved books are still for sale. This is actually an instructive example, although I hardly expect the left to give their angle any pause.
To the vast bipartisan coalition of normal people annoyed by “cancel culture,” news of backlash against Dr. Seuss means norms have quickly shifted even more out of alignment with their fundamental values. It also makes people feel as though they’ve been implicated in gross moral wrongdoing. It creates anxiety that these rapid and unpredictable shifts will soon catch up with them or their loved ones, and that reading a simple children’s book could land them in hot water with enforcers of these new norms in their communities.
It’s also worth adding that the right’s decades of slippery-slope warnings about political correctness are now vindicated on a daily basis, so focusing on individual “cancelations” of varying scope is hardly pointless. For Democrats, silence on these questions is nothing to be proud of or smug about. The party’s perpetuation of identity politics and complicity in cancel culture is hurting their own constituents. It’s actually beyond complicity. They’re eagerly working to pass legislation like the Equality Act that would make this much worse.
After the New York Times yanked an anodyne op-ed from Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) over the summer, this was clear enough to leftists like Gloria Steinem and Noam Chomsky that they added their signatures to the so-called Harper’s Letter. It’s wrong, intellectually and morally, and it’s harming real people. The elite bubble struggles to understand that because they’re insulated by their own privilege.
Two of the media’s Substack refugees put it well in their newsletters this week. “Power in America now comes from speaking woke, a highly complex and ever-evolving language,” wrote Bari Weiss. On the press’s breathless defense of Taylor Lorenz, Glen Greenwald observed, “This transparent tactic is part-and-parcel of the increasingly ideological exploitation of identity politics to shield the neoliberal order and its guardians from popular critique.”
That’s the correct framing. There are ways to protect vulnerable people and purge the lingering remnants of bigotry from our institutions that do not involve scorched-earth iconoclasm. But, of course, that isn’t actually the goal. For our elites, the “exploitation of identity politics,” as Greenwald puts it, is about boosting their own fortunes.
Democrats fall into two categories: personally and professionally terrified of the mob, or mostly in agreement with it. Beyond Tulsi Gabbard, will one prominent Democrat seriously take up this issue? The answer so far has been no. The political discourse is not a zero-sum game limited by time and space. Economic distress and the immediate destruction of free expression are not mutually exclusive. Democrats’ silence is deeply telling.
Brexit champion Nigel Farage has slammed Coca-Cola for allegedly requiring staff to take training urging them to “be less white”.
Slides from the LinkedIn-based training originally circulated on social media after being shared by psychologist Karlyn Borysenko.
One explains that “To be less white is to: be less oppressive, be less arrogant, be less certain, be less defensive, be less ignorant, be more humble, listen, believe, break with apathy, break with white solidarity.” Another simply urges the view: “Try to be less white.”
Responding to the scandal on his YouTube channel, Reform UK party leader Nigel Farage lamented that he had thought progress was being made against the “Black Lives Matter madness”, but that the Coca-Cola revelations were another example of the corporate world having “lost its marbles” as a result of the movement.
“So, to be less white means you’ll be less arrogant, less ignorant — I mean, the list goes on: ‘try to be less white’,” he said.
“And the inference here is clear, isn’t it? That white is bad; white means supremacist; white means you look down your noses at everybody else; white means you are guilty!” he continued.
“And this is what Coca-Cola is foisting upon their employees in the USA?” he asked, expressing his hope that it would not “cross the Atlantic”.
🚨🚨🚨 BREAKING: Coca-Cola is forcing employees to complete online training telling them to “try to be less white.”
“[U]ntil we have more people, far more people, in British politics and British media unafraid to stand up and tell the truth, unafraid of the extreme left screaming ‘racist!’ at them, event though they know themselves that that would not be true, until we do this, I fear we continue down this route,” Farage warned.
“And what is telling white people they are guilty and bad, what is that doing?” he asked.
“Do you think it means that white people who are exposed to this suddenly think: ‘Ah, yes! I must become a better person; I must make sure I exhibit within myself no prejudice towards anybody.’ Or does it actually make white people really, really angry, and actually make them feel that society is now more divided than ever?”
The former UKIP supremo suggested that the inheritors of Martin Luther King’s campaign for “justice, fairness, and equality” no longer want people to be judged purely on “character, honesty, integrity, intelligence — no, they want us all to be divided up into different groups, different groups based on race, gender, and sexuality”.
“[W]hen we are confronted with this nonsense, when we are told we must atone for the past, we must confess our guilty simply because we’re white, or any other colour, or any other faith, we’ve just gotta say ‘enough is enough’,” he insisted.
Coca-Cola, for its part, has been careful to avoid denying that the “try to be less white” presentation is a compulsory part of training for any of its staff, but it has claimed it is “not a focus of our company’s curriculum”.
“Our Better Together global learning curriculum is part of a learning plan to help build an inclusive workplace. It is comprised of a number of short vignettes, each a few minutes long. The training includes access to LinkedIn Learning on a variety of topics, including on diversity, equity, and inclusion,” they said in a statement, adding that they would “continue to refine this curriculum.”
Last month, the fizzy drinks corporation announced it would be requiring a quota of “diverse attorneys” from law firms doing work for it, with fees for firms that fail to meet its targets having their fees docked by 30 per cent.
BBC Diversity Exec: ‘White Privilege’ Is Fact, White People ‘Will Never Be Discriminated Against’ for Race https://t.co/zF2EvOl7LS
At least 69 monuments and memorials in Britain have been removed, renamed, or altered after Black Lives Matter (BLM) swept the country, according to a Guardian audit.
The left-wing newspaper “estimated 39 names – including streets, buildings, and schools – and 30 statues, plaques, and other memorials have been or are undergoing changes or removal” since BLM unrest swept across the Atlantic from the United States to the United Kingdom and, lacking a George Floyd figure to rally behind, made Britain’s history and built heritage its primary target.
Victims of the purge include not only “slave traders” such as Edward Colston, a once-revered Christian philanthropist, parliamentarian, and merchant who, being born in 1636, had some business links to the slave trade, has had his statue in Bristol ripped down by a mob, a stained glass window memorialising him taken down by the Church, and several buildings named in his honour rebranded.
They also include figures such as Scottish Enlightenment philosopher David Hume, in his day — the 18th century — something of a progressive figure, now cancelled by his alma mater for expressing some views considered politically correct by 21st-century standards — and Sir William Gladstone, celebrated as one of Britain’s greatest prime ministers until recently, now cancelled because his father had a financial stake in Caribbean plantations which used slave labour prior to abolition.
“If the government is really concerned about inequality and racism, they would be the first to say yes, let’s put these statues in a special museum dedicated to crimes against humanity and stop glorifying people publicly,” said Hakim Adi, a black professor at Chichester University, in comments to the Guardian.
“But they take the opposite view,” he said, referencing belated efforts to pass legislation making it harder to remove memorials.
“So then you have to question everything they say about wanting a more just and equal society, a society without racism, because it’s just hypocrisy,” he added.
“There’s the danger that the statues will go down and plaques will be removed, but the racist structures remain,” remarked Robert Beckford, who the Guardian describes as a “professor of black theology”, offering the removals a cautious welcome but hinting strongly that they are not enough.
“I’m interested in a holistic response that enables us to keep in balance a recognition of how and why these statues were erected” he explained.
“And secondly, how we then deem the history in a way that is inclusive and just and providing us with a vision of what it means to be a multicultural, multi-ethnic nation.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo railed against big tech censorship reaching new heights this week as “authoritarianism cloaked as moral righteousness.”
“We’re all part of institutions with duties and responsibilities higher and bigger and more important than any one of us individually,” Pompeo said at Voice of America after decrying the government employees for protesting his appearance. “But this kind of censorial instinct is dangerous. It’s morally wrong. Indeed, it’s against your statutory mandate here at VOA.”
Pompeo continued: “Censorship, wokeness, political correctness — it all points in one direction: authoritarianism cloaked as moral righteousness, similar to what we’re seeing in Twitter and Facebook and Apple and on too many university campuses today. It’s not who we are.”
Secretary of State @mikepompeo speaks out against censorship by “Twitter, Facebook, Apple, and on college campuses” while speaking at VOA:
“Censorship, wokeness, political correctness, it all points in one direction: authoritarianism cloaked as moral righteousness.” pic.twitter.com/ayT0X0MDS4
Pompeo’s remarks came after VOA staff complained ahead of Monday’s address that their network would broadcast remarks from the chief diplomat of the nation funding their salaries.
Voice of America employees complaining about broadcasting … the voice of America’s most senior diplomat? Seems like exactly what we should be doing to promote American values abroad. Tune in to hear my remarks about American Greatness & America First tomorrow at 3pm ET. pic.twitter.com/VJ8jsTUwkO
[Listen to The Federalist Radio Hour on the deep-rooted bias of Voice of America here. Watch here.]
Pompeo’s harsh words against big tech also follow escalating collusion between companies de-platforming competing voices that dissent from their dystopian world order. Once the clock hit midnight early Monday morning, Parler went offline after Amazon announced over the weekend it would be booting the free-speech alternative to Twitter from its web hosting services. Apple and Google banned the platform from their app stores, with each company taking action against the growing website, branding it as a haven for right-wing extremists to plot insurrection despite Facebook and Twitter each harboring such activity in the run-up to the Capitol Hill riots last week.
Like Twitter, other online companies, from Shopify to Reddit, have also implemented restrictions or outright bans on President Donald Trump and affiliated groups.
The Twitter ban in particular, while creating a martyr in Trump, has also provoked condemnation overseas. Russian dissident Alexey Navalny derided the ban as “unacceptable,” while German Chancellor Angela Merkel called it “problematic.”
1. I think that the ban of Donald Trump on Twitter is an unacceptable act of censorship (THREAD)
9. If you replace “Trump” with “Navalny” in today’s discussion, you will get an 80% accurate Kremlin’s answer as to why my name can’t be mentioned on Russian TV and I shouldn’t be allowed to participate in any elections.