Sunday, March 30, 2008

Force Without Force: Wendy Shalit’s A Return to Modesty

By Nicholas Stix

(The above review was commissioned for publication and written in 1998. Unfortunately, however, the commissioning editor never published another issue of his journal.)

In her book, A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue, Wendy Shalit argues that not money, but modesty (read: chastity) makes the world go ‘round. Shalit sees the loss of female sexual modesty as having made girls and women miserable, and invited men—who hardly need such an invitation—to treat them badly. In the name of a more “authentic” sexual culture, everyone’s “doing it,” yet almost everyone’s miserable.

A 23-year-old recent graduate of Williams College, Shalit believes that real sex differences exist, as opposed to socially constructed “gender” differences, and that the popular obsession with crude sexual behavior has made society not only uncivilized, but boring and sexless, as well. Restraint is sexy. This young fogey is apparently a Himmelfarbian neo-Victorian, for whom modesty is just the beginning of a silk-gloved campaign of moral renewal.

Shalit sets out three positions: 1. Women’s misery today is due to their embrace of a crude, misogynistic ethos of promiscuity that goes against their nature; feminists and conservatives alike have imposed on women (with their cooperation) a sexual ethics that denies that fundamental, natural differences distinguish women from men; 2. The ethics of feminine sexual modesty that grew naturally out of those differences, and for millennia respected (even celebrated) them, not only allowed girls to be women, but permitted (or should I say, forced?) boys to be men. In other words, female sexual modesty served a general ethical principle not limited to females; and 3. Thus, if we want to have a society in which men and women can relearn how to tolerate, respect, and even perhaps, love one another, we’d better relearn how to teach girls sexual modesty and boys to honor that modesty.

Shalit opens by telling of her upbringing as a economist’s daughter who always knew she could become whatever she wanted to, and thus never took feminists seriously -- until she went to Williams. Confronted with classmates suffering from anorexia, bulimia, and the after-effects of rape, she concluded, “The feminists were not exaggerating. The feminists were right.”

Seeking a way out of the morass in which she saw her female peers mired, Shalit stumbled onto what she calls the “modestyniks,” young Orthodox Jewish women who, as per Jewish law, do not engage in premarital sex.

In my freshman year I became friends with an elderly couple ... One night after dinner they brought out some pictures of one of their granddaughters... with her then-fiancé.

What a curious picture. Although the blissfully betrothed were grinning very widely, unlike most engaged couples they didn’t have their arms around each other. Here were a young, beautiful brunette and a tall and handsome man standing extremely close together, but they weren’t touching each other at all.... How strange, I thought: If they didn’t really like each other, then why in the world did they get married?

Fortunately my friends spoke up. ‘See,’ said the grandfather, pointing at the photo, ‘they observe the laws of tzniut.’ I said, ‘God bless you!’ He said, ‘No, I didn’t sneeze: tzniut means modesty. They observe the Jewish laws of sexual modesty.’

Shalit notes irritated secularists’ assumption that the modestyniks are “abuseniks,” young women who have been sexually abused. From my experience working with abused and neglected children, I know that aggressively sexual behavior by extremely young (e.g., eight-year-old) girls is often an indication of sexual abuse, but (as Shalit suggests) there is no evidence that the refusal to engage in early sexual behavior is an indication of abuse.

Unlike Shalit’s teachers, who began talking about AIDS in kindergarten, my teachers had not yet progressed to sex ed. Fortunately for Shalit, her “neglectful” mother ordered that she removed from a class in which a red-faced, sex education “specialist” asked a classroom of eight-year-olds what “69” meant to them.

Shalit sees a causal connection between early sex ed and boys’ sexual taunting of girls, pro-sex-ed feminists’ perverse demands for lawsuits on behalf of prepubescent “sexual harassment” victims, and sexual attacks on prepubescent girls in schools.

For Shalit, the ability to love, which is inseparable from female vulnerability, is the signifying characteristic of what it is to be a woman. An invulnerable, atomistic monad may be capable of narcissism, but cannot love. And so, sex “experts” encourage young girls to have countless sexual partners, so that they may disconnect the notions of “love” and “sex.” This is to liberate them. Liberate them from what? Shalit says: from love ... and from being a woman.

There may be a Deweyan (“we only value what we have lost”) problem here. Shalit is trying to philosophically reconstruct something that still succeeds in much of the world, as long as folks don’t get philosophical about it. For instance, millions of American girls of all colors abstain from premarital sex. However, they don’t attend Williams or Columbia or NYU or Berkeley. If they read Cosmopolitan, it’s for a laugh, or to check out hairdos, not to learn “how to seduce a married man.” Most are devout Christians, though that majority is being slowly supplanted by first-generation, American Muslim and Hindu girls. They don’t do “it,” because they don’t want to lose out on Paradise or be reincarnated as animals; their mothers would surely beat them; and their fathers might shoot their boyfriends.

America has been in the grips of a charismatic, religious revival for some time, but the mass media and academia have both willfully misrepresented this, identifying it with the so-called Religious Right, or fancying that non-white religious revivalism (e.g., Harvey Cox on Pentecostalism) is a leftwing phenomenon.

Shalit discusses the return to religious-based modesty, but does so in terms of women from the same upper-middle-class background she has limited herself to all along.

I have a number of problems with this book.

First off, Shalit’s male-female distinction is too vague. She’s on to something, yet fails to convince me. Though she defines femaleness in terms of emotions (needing love, and being vulnerable to rejection) I routinely feel, my wife insists that I am a man. In Shalit’s defense, attempts to be precise about sex differences tend to either get schmaltzy or pseudo-scientific.

Shalit’s problems with nature carry over to her discussion of ethics, where she says that modesty is natural to being a woman, only to later say that modesty is necessary to keep women from giving in to nature. If sexual modesty is a response to men’s natural brutishness, protects women from the ill-effects of too much “nature” (illegitimacy), and civilizes both men and women, it is not natural, but a moral response to nature.

Shalit’s discussion of relations between the sexes is limited to a one-sided, libertine, sexual revolution model in which young women live in a state of anomie, with adults refusing to give them the guidance they so desperately need. That may be true of many girls and young women, but feminism has also developed its own brand of sexual authoritarianism. This involves bullying both (sometimes very willing) women and men about what they may think.

Bullying women: During my senior year at Stony Brook, in 1980, an acquaintance of mine told me she initially had not been aware of having been gang raped in one of the campuses wooded paths, until my best girlfriend, radical feminist firebrand P., had “explained” it to her. I don’t know what happened to my acquaintance, but I am sure of this: If a 21-year-old, sexually active American female needs someone to explain gang rape to her, she hasn’t been gang raped.

Bullying men: During the past seven years of teaching college, I have had many discipline problems with students. The vast majority of these problems have been with women, often women in their thirties. Most of my department heads were women; when I sought to discipline such students, my chairwomen always sided with them. Indeed, I think the misconduct was based on students’ expectation of the academic matriarchy’s support.

Shalit shies away from any confrontation with feminism, not that that is going to help her with feminists. The feminists are wrong about date rape, sexual harassment, stalking, and pay disparities, and Shalit’s refusal to confront these issues is odd, to say the very least.

Shalit even speaks fondly of Mary Daly, whose increasing megalomania and obsessive, pseudo-etymology recall Nazi philosopher Martin Heidegger after the war.

Occasionally, Shalit takes swipes at unnamed “conservative” straw men who supposedly justify rape with bromides such as “boys will be boys,” and who encourage girls to be as crude as boys. I don’t know of any such conservatives, and since Shalit is otherwise so fastidious about naming sources, I don’t believe she does, either.

Politics: Much of the problem Shalit discusses is -- as she grants -- a ‘60s thing -- but she is too vague, in blaming the Sexual Revolution (really a seventies thing). In the 1960s, white Marxists and black welfare politicians began a national campaign to get millions of unwed, working black women to stop working and get on welfare. Eventually, joined by middle-class, anti-family feminists, the anti-family, anti-modesty campaign spread to other races.

Shalit neglects certain obvious social policy issues that flow from her narrative. Many of the problems she discusses would diminish, if school sex education programs and condom distribution were eliminated, and underage girls were no longer permitted to get abortions without their parents’ consent.

Shalit’s reliance on the letters and advice pages of girls magazines is helpful early on, but gets repetitious, and serves to dumb down (and pad out?) a serious book.

Shalit speaks constantly of “the culture” in personalized, objective terms: “the culture chooses,” etc. Cultures don’t choose, people do. Besides, there is no unified “culture” in America. Shalit’s “culture” is largely middle and upper-middle class, white, secular and American-born. Tens of millions of females don’t belong to that culture, because they are tied by birth to a religious or common-sense moral tradition that sees promiscuity for the immoral foolishness that it is.

Many of the women I know are from just such cultures. But first, let’s look at a woman Shalit sees as typical of “the culture.” Standing outside a Manhattan shop, waiting for Shalit, the young woman is “accosted” by a man who walks up close to her, and says, “You have pretty eyes.” That’s it. The woman felt “violated”; Shalit defends her as normal, rather than neurotic.

I have heard other upper-middle-class women react similarly to virtually identical situations, and I say, she’s neurotic.

Let me give counterexamples. Circa 1997, in midtown Manhattan, I saw a thug accost a petite, attractive, black American female about 20 years of age. Putting his hand on her arm, he commenced to tell her she should come with him. But rather than become upset, the young woman gave a textbook lesson on how to politely blow off what used to be called a “masher.”

Similarly, my Pentecostal, Dominican former girlfriend, Mary, acts like a perfect lady in public. She exemplifies what feminists call a “traditional, oppressed” woman. However, Mary would laugh about the situation that so upset Shalit’s girlfriend. Not only does Mary not fear men, but she carries in her bag a knife, which she is ready, willing, and able to use, if necessary.

My Christian, formerly Hindu wife is similar to Mary, except for the knife. As a skinny teenager in Trinidad, my wife once punched a large, notoriously violent man in the face, when he tried to force a kiss on her sister. Millions of women in this country -- all invisible to Shalit’s “culture” – have been raised to be “ladies,” and to defend themselves to the death, if necessary. Some of them carry guns, and know how to use them.

Shalit’s theoretical dichotomy and cultural limitations lead her to a one-sided picture of womanhood and sexual ethics that is blind to women’s ability to be strong and vulnerable, depending on their upbringing and the circumstances. I wish her well in wrestling with these issues in her future works.

Experiment of Open Admissions Comes Back to Haunt CUNY

By Nicholas Stix
Insight on the News
August 16, 1999

To survivors of New York’s World War II generation, it was not surprising news: Their legendary, beloved City College and its sister campuses were getting another bad report card. In June the mayor’s Advisory Task Force on CUNY gave failing grades to 30 years of CUNY’s experimentation with open admissions and remedial education. The 12-volume report, The City University of New York: An Institution Adrift, could have national repercussions.

Some who know City College’s history inevitably ask: How could something that was so right go so wrong? From 1915 to 1965, the tuition-free colleges of what is now the City University of New York, or CUNY, represented an experiment in pure meritocracy. CUNY’s City College campus, or CCNY, founded in 1847, had tougher standards than Harvard and graduated eight future Nobel laureates. Its alumni include former Supreme Court justice Felix Frankfurter, civil-rights leader A. Philip Randolph, polio conqueror Jonas Salk, former New York City mayor Ed Koch and former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Colin Powell. “The Jewish students loved the place, loved it utterly, hopelessly, blindly” wrote the late socialist literary scholar and CUNY professor Irving Howe of his alma mater.

But that was then. In 1970, CUNY instituted a policy of open admissions, guaranteeing every New York City high-school graduate acceptance to a CUNY campus. The policy of “open admissions” was a politically charged response to the spring 1969 building takeovers and riot threats by Puerto-Rican and black City College students. Today, 70 percent of the 18-campus system’s 200,000 students, as opposed to 56 percent of college students nationally, require remediation. At the community colleges, two of which have two-year graduation rates of 0.2 percent, the remediation rate is 87 percent.

The task force was chaired by former Yale University president Benno C. Schmidt Jr., head of the Edison Project that runs for-profit public schools, and included CUNY Board of Trustees Chairman Herman Badillo (a 1951 graduate of City College), who was Republican New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s top educational adviser. Its report indicts “CUNY’s failure to ensure that remediation is effective,” emphasizing that “the whole remediation enterprise seems slapdash” CUNY administrators and faculty long have damned CUNY’s placement tests, which show that most CUNY freshmen cannot do college-level work, as “culturally biased.” But the report counters, “There is no evidence of the tests being biased against African-American or Hispanic students.”

The report also supported limiting remediation -- previously offered at all campuses -- to the system’s seven community colleges, a move that had been endorsed last year by the Board of Trustees.

Reactions by the political and educational establishment were predictable. Confronting Schmidt at a June 21 meeting of the City Council Committee on Higher Education, black Councilman Bill Perkins complained of “the racist stereotypes and innuendoes that are implied in this report.” At the same meeting, black Councilwoman Helen Marshall told Schmidt, “In reading this report, I get a feeling of ethnic cleansing, all right?”

In the left-leaning Chronicle of Higher Education, staff writers Patrick Healey and Sara Hebel spoke of a “politically charged transformation from an institution that opens its doors to almost all applicants, into a Republican-led university that prizes enrolling and graduating students with solid academic records.”

The liberal New York Times has been strangely mute on the CUNY-report debate. Not so its jubilant tabloid competitors, both of whom long have criticized CUNY’s “standard of no standards.” The Republican-friendly New York Post titled an editorial “Hope Returns to CUNY” while the centrist Democratic Daily News went with, “CUNY Plan Rates Passing Grade .... Only at CUNY would such a plan [for phasing out remediation in senior colleges] be considered radical. Or elitist. Or racist.”

The CUNY report cannot be understood apart from the changing face of New York and national politics. CUNY chieftains’ history of reaching out to black and Hispanic students -- regardless of grades and test scores -- has demoralized better-prepared students, resulting in white flight and in so-called “ABC” -- Anywhere But CUNY -- college shopping among gifted black and Hispanic students.

Because the open-admissions/remedial model was introduced in New York in 1970, the CUNY report will loom large over other failing, urban public universities, most notoriously Chicago State University and the University of the District of Columbia. Thus, the curriculum of chaos that originated in New York may be swept away by a New York-based reform movement.

Contender, Champ, Bum: Brando

Rod Steiger and Marlon Brando as brothers Charley and Terry Malloy, in On the Waterfront (1954). See dialogue below.

By Nicholas Stix

July 12, 2004

Charley Malloy: Look, kid, I - how much you weigh, son? When you weighed one hundred and sixty-eight pounds you were beautiful. You coulda been another Billy Conn, and that skunk we got you for a manager, he brought you along too fast.

Terry Malloy: It wasn't him, Charley, it was you. Remember that night in the Garden you came down to my dressing room and you said, "Kid, this ain't your night. We're going for the price on Wilson." You remember that? "This ain't your night"! My night! I coulda taken Wilson apart! So what happens? He gets the title shot outdoors in the ballpark and what do I get? A one-way ticket to Palookaville! You was my brother, Charley, you shoulda looked out for me a little bit. You shoulda taken care of me just a little bit so I wouldn't have to take them dives for the short-end money.

Charley: Oh I had some bets down for you. You saw some money.

Terry: You don't understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let's face it. It was you, Charley.

Marlon Brando as “Terry Malloy,” and Rod Steiger, as his brother, “Charley,” in the taxicab scene from On the Waterfront (1954).

The Early Years

At different times in his career, Marlon Brando exemplified the best and the worst of the American acting profession. Brando died on July 2, at the age of 80, of pulmonary failure. Let’s take a look, with clear eyes, at his life and work.

The best came mostly at the start.

Brando made his name as an actor in December 1947, starring as “Stanley Kowalski” in Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire. He became a Broadway legend, playing the role for two solid years (800+ performances), but the provinces of Manhattan’s West Side being what they are, most Americans still didn’t know him from Adam. Streetcar was Brando’s fifth, and last, Broadway show.

Marlon Brando burst onto the movie scene in 1950, in Fred Zinnemann’s The Men, playing an angry, wheelchair-bound veteran. “Angry” became him.

The next year, Brando became “Brando,” the screen legend, in the film version of Streetcar. Elia Kazan, who had directed the stage version, directed the film adaptation, which included most of the stage cast (Kim Hunter, Karl Malden, Rudy Bond, Nick Dennis, Ann Dere, Richard Garrick, Peg Hillias and Edna Thomas). The major change from the stage to the screen version, was in replacing Jessica Tandy with Vivien Leigh for the role of “Blanche DuBois.”

Stanley Kowalski is a brute, as arrogant and overbearing as he is stupid. And yet, for all his abuse, his wife, Stella, loves him. Indeed, Stella loves the animal in Stanley. But Stella is secondary in Streetcar. The story revolves around the confrontation between Stella’s older sister Blanche, who comes for a visit, and Stanley. The delicate Blanche, who has always depended upon “the kindness of strangers,” is contemptuous of Stanley, and he knows it. (So, for that matter, is Stella.) And yet, Blanche is fascinated with him, and attracted to him.

Ultimately, Stanley rapes Blanche, and she mentally disintegrates, like a flower whose petals fall off.

The movie depicts Stanley as a monster, and Blanche as his helpless victim, yet I don’t think that’s how the author, Tennessee Williams, saw things. Williams saw in Blanche … himself. The homosexual Williams was drawn to brutes like Stanley, and dreamed of being ravished.

(But what do I know? According to the tenured, white feminists at the City University of New York’s York College, Williams was a feminist, and Streetcar was a feminist statement. Granted, to my knowledge there is no record of Tennessee Williams as a feminist, and the tenure-holders’ claims have no connection to Williams’ life, but hey, they’ve got tenure, so they must know what they’re talking about, right?

In 1998, after a workshop performance of scenes from Streetcar at York, the tenured feminists were running a discussion. And I mean running it. When I, the only white male present in the small group, sought to contribute my take, they ignored my raised hand. Fortunately for me, the gifted, young black actress who had played Blanche, and who was also a splendid writer, was one of my literature students, which was why I was there in the first place. My student – whose name I unfortunately can no longer recall – ignored the feminists, and called on me. So, at least my student heard my theory.)

Passionate, raw masculinity was to be the young Brando’s trademark. Imagine a white, heterosexual actor being permitted to perform that way today. His character would have to be the heavy, a comic foil, or a repressed homosexual. (Some might see “irony” in Stanley Kowalski having been written by a homosexual, but when one considers that the role is a caricature of heterosexual masculinity by a writer who was not trying to do caricature, all irony evaporates. Tennessee Williams did not take his irony supplements.)

For four years in a row, Brando was up for the best actor Oscar: For Streetcar, Viva Zapata, Julius Caesar and On the Waterfront. Some observers think it is an “enduring mystery” that Brando lost to Humphrey Bogart (for The African Queen) in 1952, but it was Bogart’s turn, and it just wasn’t Brando’s time yet. Heck, at that point, Hollywood was so infatuated with Brando, that he was even nominated for his mumbling Marc Antony in Joseph Mankiewicz’ Julius Caesar (1953).

(I know Hollywood is terribly inconsistent in such matters, but a great many Oscars have been awarded to performers for relatively mediocre work, who had been passed over for their best performances, while other awards have been given for purely sentimental reasons. Think Helen Hayes in 1971, for Airport; Paul Newman in ’87, for a lousy performance in The Color of Money; Jessica Tandy for Driving Miss Daisy in ’90; and Jessica Lange in ’96 for Blue Skies, instead of Meryl Streep, who in The Bridges of Madison County gave a performance that, to my mind, was the equivalent of Vivien Leigh’s standard-setting work in Gone with the Wind and Streetcar.) (Postscript, September 19, 2010: I have since concluded that Streep’s work in Bridges was the greatest performance ever by a lead actress.)

In 1954’s On the Waterfront, as washed-up prizefighter Terry Malloy, who gets by performing little favors and doing “show-no” longshoreman jobs for waterfront mob boss “Johnny Friendly,” Brando gave his greatest performance. The dramatic blockbuster, like Streetcar and Zapata directed by Elia Kazan, would be nominated for 12 Oscars, and win eight.

As more than a few observers have pointed out, Brando’s Terry Malloy combined brutishness and sensitivity. It also needs to be pointed out that Brando thrived on working with Kazan, a tough, demanding director who had made his mark on the New York stage.

After On the Waterfront, Brando would no longer enjoy the sort of success during the 1950s that he did at the beginning of the decade. And yet, he continued to do excellent, often daring work.

In 1955, he starred in the film version of the musical Guys and Dolls as “Sky Masterson,” opposite Frank Sinatra’s “Nathan Detroit.”

In 1956, opposite Glenn Ford, a physically unrecognizable Brando played a Japanese interpreter in the comedy set in occupied Japan, The Teahouse of the August Moon. Brando was marvelous in the sort of role that actors used to fight for, in order to spread their wings, but which now are largely off limits to whites, due to political correctness. Ethnic hustlers demand instead that such roles be given to mediocre members of their respective groups.

In 1957, Brando played military pilot “Ace Gruver” in James Michener interracial romance, Sayonara, set in Japan during the Korean War and at the end of the American occupation. The movie was nominated for ten Academy Awards, including Brando as Best Actor, and won four. The awards were dominated that year by David Lean’s brilliant World War II story of the clash of civilizations, The Bridge on the River Kwai, which won seven of the statuettes. Brando lost out to Alec Guinness, who had given a towering performance in Kwai as “Col. Nicholson.”

Whaddya Got?

Girl: What're you rebelling against, Johnny?
Johnny: Whaddya got?

Brando, as Johnny Strabler, to Mary Murphy, in The Wild One.

All the talk about Brando’s “sensitivity” is so much rot. The sycophantic “experts” who say that he played “sensitive” brutes are confusing emotional neediness with sensitivity. In other words, they can’t tell a narcissist from a saint.

The role that contributed the most to Brando’s mystique, was that of motorcycle gang leader “Johnny Strabler,” the title character of The Wild One (listed variously as 1953 or 1954).

The movie is entertaining trash, which owes a good deal of its attraction to the scenery-chewing work of a young Lee Marvin as “Chino,” the leader of a rival gang. (In the big fight scene, Johnny gives Chino a pasting; in real life, the 5’10” Brando would never have had a chance with Marvin, a hard-drinking brawler who stood five inches taller than him.)

In the face of a weakling sheriff, Strabler’s gang takes over and lays waste to a small California town. Eventually, some civilians take matters into their own hands, and beat the hell out of Johnny. Director László Benedek suggested, ludicrously, that the townsmen were as brutal as the motorcycle gang, and in a view that would become widespread in the 1960s as regards black thugs, that what Johnny really needed was “understanding.” Hell, in such a situation, the townsmen would have been perfectly justified in lynching Johnny. I got your “understanding” right here!

Johnny Strabler was one of the early versions of what became the ultimate 1960s Hollywood cliché: The “anti-hero.” During his brief mid-1950s career, before dying in an automobile accident in 1955, James Dean would specialize in this type, in East of Eden, Rebel Without a Cause (the ultimate anti-hero movie title), and Giant. Another then-famous anti-hero role was Paul Newman’s performance as Billy the Kid, in Arthur Penn’s The Lefthanded Gun (1958). (Though I admire much of Penn’s work, when I saw the movie on The Late Show about thirty years ago, I found it so dreadful that I shut it off after a few minutes.)

In the 1960s, the anti-hero became the dominant shtick in Hollywood, as Steve McQueen, Clint Eastwood, Lee Marvin, Newman and Redford, (and a few years later) Charles Bronson, and countless other actors would earn millions of dollars portraying anti-hero crooks and cops alike. (On TV, for a producer to sell a cop series, it had to be about an “unorthodox” cop.)

However, the anti-hero shtick did not help Marlon Brando. Brando’s problem was that, rather than seeing the playing of anti-heroes as a calculated career move, he adopted the anti-hero as his personal shtick. But if you really act like an anti-hero (i.e., a sociopath) in your personal and professional life, you become a source of grief to all who depend on you.

I once wrote that Frank Sinatra was for approximately 12 years one of the world’s great movie actors, until he was felled, in his late forties, by the world’s longest mid-life crisis.

I was wrong. Brando’s midlife crisis began when he was still in his thirties; with each passing year, he acted ever more childishly.

The earliest case of Brando’s deterioration that I know of, was during the filming, ca. 1961, of the remake of The Mutiny on the Bounty, in which Brando played Lt. Fletcher Christian. Bounty went way over budget and was late. Some Brandoists claim that this was due to their patron saint’s “perfectionism.” More credible-sounding stories are that Brando was abusive and disrespectful towards directors Carol Reed and (after Reed quit, rather than take any more of his abuse) Lewis Milestone, and caused production delays and cost overruns, such as through the prank, in which during a scene shot aboard the Bounty during a tropical storm, the actor shouted, “Mary had a little lamb …” When the day’s rushes came back, it immediately became clear that the recording of the actual script could not possibly be matched to Brando’s lip movements, and the entire, expensive scene had to be re-shot.

The 1960s saw Brando’s stock as an actor plummet, as he made one poor choice after another. And he was unlucky, too. Even when he made a good movie, as he did with Sophia Loren, in Charlie Chaplin’s swan song, The Countess from Hong Kong (1967), the comedy bombed with audiences and critics alike. I seem to be the only person who likes this movie! (PS, 2010: I have since read that during the filming of Countess, Brando treated even Chaplin, the colossus of movie history, with contempt. Thus, he was even more wicked than I knew, when I wrote this article in 2004!)

By the early 1970s, when Brando was given the chance to star as mob patriarch “Don Vito Corleone” in The Godfather, which was being directed by a young man named Francis Ford Coppola, he had to take a screen test to get the role, an indignity he’d never had to put up with during the 1950s or ‘60s. But it was a blessing in disguise; the challenge invigorated him. According to legend, Brando put cotton in his cheeks for the screen test, to give the impression of an aging, Italian-born gangster. Legend or no, the movie earned the actor his second Oscar for best actor, provided a new generation with a new image of him, and indirectly made him millions through his revived fame. (One could argue that, in the ultimate ensemble production that The Godfather was, Brando’s Don Corleone character wasn’t on screen enough to justify a lead actor Oscar.)

The Godfather was based on Mario Puzo’s runaway bestseller, which was the hottest book in America for two years running. The movie smashed all box office records.

Brando earned himself some additional notoriety (read: publicity) through elaborately staging his refusal to accept the Oscar he’d won for The Godfather. Reportedly, he’d applied just two years earlier for the replacement of his Oscar for On the Waterfront, which he claimed had been stolen. Brando sent an unknown, American Indian/white actress named Maria Cruz, got up in Indian garb, using her stage name Sacheen Littlefeather, to the 1973 Academy Awards ceremony, with a speech decrying Hollywood’s treatment of American Indians.

So, he got have to have his Oscar, and reject it, too.

(At the time, the politically correct romanticization of the Indians was already well under way. In 1970, Arthur Penn’s brilliant anti-western, Little Big Man, portrayed the Indians variously as victims of vicious white men, and righteous victors over them. Ever since, we have heard about how Hollywood viciously “stereotyped” the Indians, but I don’t know of anything of the sort. If you watch the work of the most successful director of “cowboy-and-Indian” movies, John Ford, you will see Indians portrayed both as rapine, murderous, cut-throats (e.g., The Searchers, Sergeant Rutledge), and as honorable men who were betrayed by powerful white men (e.g., Fort Apache, Cheyenne Autumn). Both characterizations happen to have the virtue of being true to the facts.)

The same year as The Godfather, Brando starred in the then revolutionary Last Tango in Paris, by Bernardo Bertolucci. Last Tango was rated X (since replaced by NC-17) for sex scenes that were considered to be of pornographic quality. At the risk of sounding like a libertine, when I finally saw Last Tango, in both the American and German versions, I suspected that either material I’d read about had been edited out, or that the original stories about the picture were exaggerated. In any event, the story of a man who has just lost his suicidal wife, and who embarks on a narcissistic, anonymous, purely sexual relationship with a girl half his age whom he has just met, was an international sensation. “Paul” (Brando) insists that “Jeanne” (Maria Schneider) not fall in love with him, not even tell him her name. But she does fall in love with him, and ultimately kills him, when he stalks her.

What would have been tawdry, softcore pornography in less talented hands, became, through Bertolucci and Brando, and Gato Barbieri’s brilliant score, an epitaph for the budding sexual revolution (though I don’t recall anyone saying so at the time). Sex Without Love = Death.

Although released in 1972, Last Tango qualified as a 1973 release, in terms of Oscar eligibility, and got Brando another best actor Oscar nomination. It would be his last.

As the years wore on, and I learned more about Brando, I wondered whether, in Last Tango, I had seen a great performance of a role, or Brando simply playing himself. Brando is supposed to have said that the performance emotionally destroyed him. If he really said that, so much the worse for him.

In my college acting textbook, Respect for Acting, Uta Hagen argued that an actor should, by virtue of his work, be psychologically healthy. One gets to play act, and enjoy emotional catharsis on a regular basis. A real actor would have felt stimulated, refreshed, by a tour de force. The Brando who claimed to be ravaged by a movie performance, spoke not as an actor, but as a narcissist. The narcissist must always take from others, and feels that by giving anything to the audience, he is impoverishing himself. Had Brando written a book on acting, it would have to have been entitled, Contempt for Acting. (Hagen was the original star of Clifford Odets’ The Country Girl and Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and replaced Jessica Tandy in Streetcar.)

The defining characteristics of the latter half of Brando’s life were narcissism, laziness, and greed. His bizarre, occasional utterances on politics and other subjects were designed to draw maximum attention to himself, in order to remind directors that he was still around. He would then demand incredible salaries for minimal work, playing roles where he would refuse even to learn his lines. And his conduct was at times so unprofessional, as to ruin movies. The man who in his twenties and early thirties had been a blessing to the acting profession, became a curse, the nihilistic Anti-Actor. It was as if the young Brando had made a deal with the Devil to quickly attain greatness, but Lucifer had now exacted his price, which required that Brando disgrace himself, and become a porcine parody of his formerly handsome self.

Playing an assassin in The Missouri Breaks (1976), an Arthur Penn western in which the horse thief played by Jack Nicholson is the “good guy,” Brando gave the sort of hammy, bizarre performance that would become a recurring theme in his later work, in which he often would be poison for directors’ careers. The movie signaled the decline of Arthur Penn as a director.

Coppola then signed Brando to star in Apocalypse Now, one of the most star-crossed productions in Hollywood history. While the Phillipines production suffered monsoons, the near death of co-star Martin Sheen (then only 37) due to a massive heart attack, and the cost overruns and general indiscipline that would become associated with the middle-aged Francis Ford Coppola, the initial problem was Brando. He showed up for his role as a special forces colonel over 100 pounds overweight, and according to reports at the time, the script had to be completely re-written, so that Brando would appear on the screen only for a few minutes. Thus did the star vehicle become a cameo role.

His next movie role, in 1980’s The Formula, opposite George C. Scott and Marthe Keller, resulted in his being nominated for a Razzie Award as the year’s worst supporting actor. (Brando would again be nominated for Razzies for Christopher Columbus: The Discovery (1992) and The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996).)

Brando would not make another movie for nine years. In A Dry White Season (1989), he phoned in another bizarre, hammy performance, this time as a South African barrister, but since the movie was an anti-apartheid screed, and Brando was helping the “good guys,” he was nominated for a best supporting actor Oscar.

The following year, a much more relaxed Brando played a parody of his Godfather character, in the entertaining comedy, The Freshman.

In 1995, Brando teamed up with Johnny Depp in Don Juan DeMarco. Depp played a psychiatric patient from Queens who insisted he was the great lover, Don Juan. Brando played the psychiatrist who had to figure out whether Depp’s character was delusional. The chemistry between Depp and Brando was marvelous, and Brando turned in a performance that was uncharacteristically delicate and full of whimsy. (Unfortunately, there was no screen chemistry between Brando and Faye Dunaway, as his wife.)

And yet, the following year saw Brando up to his old tricks again. On the set of The Island of Dr. Moreau, he reportedly sabotaged the production, inducing his younger, undisciplined, narcissistic co-star, Val Kilmer, into joining him in his shenanigans. The crippled movie was savaged by critics and ignored by moviegoers.

During Brando’s last movie, a small role in The Score (2001), he reportedly made a point of insulting and humiliating director Frank Oz, and demanded that Oz be off the set during Brando’s few scenes.

Since Brando’s death, we have been told that he somehow gave actors “permission” to be emotionally authentic. We have also heard, from Brando-apologist Richard Schickel, that it was the movies that let Brando down, beginning in the 1960s, rather than the other way around. Baloney!

A more intense acting style was coming into fashion after World War II, before Brando’s arrival on the Hollywood scene. Witness Kirk Douglas’ driven performances as boxer “Midge Kelly” in Champion (1949), as “Det. Jim McLeod” in Detective Story (1951), and as Vincent Van Gogh in Lust for Life (1956). And already in 1946, in It’s a Wonderful Life, note the embittered, emotionally raw quality of so much of Jimmy Stewart’s performance as “George Bailey,” a quality that characterized much of Stewart’s best 1950s’ work with directors Anthony Mann and Alfred Hitchcock. (P.S. That same year saw an equally emotionally raw performance by John Wayne as patriarch Thomas Munson in Red River, which was Wayne's breakthrough role. The movie sat on the shelf for two years, as Wayne sued the producers for cheating him out of money they'd promised the star.)

The Parents of the Angry Anti-Hero

Perhaps the greatest irony of Marlon Brando’s descent into narcissism, is the reason why the narcissist cult of “anti-authoritarian” celebrity arose in the first place.

With the end of World War II, the circumstances of earlier, largely upbeat studio movies changed in two radical ways.

The Great Depression was over, and The War was won. During the Depression, Hollywood studios felt obliged to churn out uplifting, escapist entertainment which was either carefree, or which presented clear choices between “good guys” (white hats) and “bad guys” (black hats), in which good always prevailed over evil. With so much misery on the streets and the farms, there was no need to rub audiences’ noses in what they were already enduring. Besides, theatergoers would have stayed away in droves from such punishment. But when times are flush, people feel less of a compulsion to see upbeat stories, and many even obsess over the dark side of human existence.

The other development was the destruction of the old studio system, thanks to studio player Olivia De Havilland. In 1945, De Havilland launched, and in 1948 won, a lawsuit that broke up the studios’ power over all aspects of moviedom.

Prior to De Havilland’s lawsuit, the same studio that produced movies also owned the theater chain that presented them. The verdict in the lawsuit forced the studios to divest their control of theater chains, which meant that they were no longer guaranteed profits from most of their pictures.

And prior to the De Havilland lawsuit, movie stars were much like major league baseball players, who under the “reserve clause” belonged to the same team forever, unless it chose to trade or release them.

Olivia De Havilland won for actors their independence, but this was a mixed blessing.

For one thing, it made movie production more expensive and risky, and thus cost a lot of low-level actors and craftsmen their jobs. (And accelerated the movies’ decline, under the onslaught of TV.)

Under the old system, the studio heads decided what roles would be offered to a performer (which was what prompted De Havilland to sue). They also exerted considerable control over performers’ private lives. Big stars tended to hate both aspects of studio control, and yet many performers could not cope with their new-found freedom. For instance, under the old system, stars did not have to read through dozens of submitted scripts, and choose the one great role in the batch; the studio told them what role they’d be playing. And previously, actors did not get to deal with the media. The studios told them what to say and where to say it. Studio publicity departments largely controlled the press, whom they fed a steady diet of phony stories about the stars, in exchange for reporters not hounding performers.

Under the new dispensation, many movie stars made poor script choices. And the notion that a movie star could create his own public persona proved to be fool’s gold, as the newly empowered media descended upon the uncontrolled, unarmed narcissists (see Seberg, Jean). With time, the cannier movie stars, such as Tom Cruise, employed their lawyers and publicists to reinvent the studio publicity system, whereby they would contractually control every aspect of their publicity campaigns, with only those media organizations getting puff interviews that got every question cleared in advance, and that promised in writing not to engage in journalism. What we call “celebrity culture,” I believe, comprises the media and both the out-of-control narcissists and the control freaks alike.

In her Brando obituary, Suzanne Fields wrote of a dinner she attended with the actor in a restaurant during the mid-1970s. Brando loudly criticized everything about the restaurant, making a spectacle of himself, and then loudly complained that other diners, who no doubt recognized him, were looking at him. Had other diners not noticed him, he might have stroked out.

In a sort of poetic justice, the lazy media of celebrity culture couldn’t even bother getting their Brando stories right. The day after Brando’s death, the TV show Extra “reported” that Brando’s film debut was in Streetcar, and that he had appeared in “both” of Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather movies (Coppola made three Godfather movies; Brando only appeared in the first). And on Nightline, big-deal movie critic Roger Ebert said that, based on Brando’s revolutionary influence, movie history could be divided into pre and post-1947 films. The only problem is, Brando didn’t make his first movie until 1950. Ebert confused Brando’s 1947 Broadway performance as Stanley Kowalski in Streetcar, with his movie performance of the same role four years later. Media sycophants also belabored the effects of Brando’s son Christian’s 1990 murder of daughter Cheyenne’s boyfriend, Dag Drollet, and Cheyenne’s 1995 suicide, on Brando. The fact is, that if anything, such tragedies were the effects, rather than the causes of a dissolute lifestyle that Brando had embarked on while still a young man. (Note how media camp followers were less concerned with the people who were directly harmed, than with the feelings of The Star.) He left behind three ex-wives, 14 or more surviving children born in and out of wedlock, and reportedly, thousands of ex-lovers, few if any of whom achieved as much intimacy with him as the fictional Jeanne of Last Tango achieved with “Paul.”

Some have referred to Brando as America’s greatest actor, and even as the greatest actor of the 20th century. I have to disagree. Brando may have possessed the greatest talent of any American actor of the past 100 years, but for most of his career, he wasted that talent. The specifically American aspect of Brando’s story, is that in America, movie actors are more closely identified with the roles they play, than in say, the United Kingdom. With the sort of classical theater training performers like John Gielgud, Laurence Olivier, and Alec Guinness received at the Old Vic and Central (and that German great, Gustaf Gründgens, received in Düsseldorf), an actor who was seen as indistinguishable from a certain role or type would have been seen as a failure.

Brando’s case reminds me of baseball player Dwight Gooden, the most talented pitcher of the past twenty years. However, after tremendous early success and adulation, Gooden destroyed his body with drugs, alcohol, and even sexual hijinks. And so, Gooden’s success was eventually matched or exceeded by many of his less gifted contemporaries.

In the field of acting, Gene Hackman may not be Brando’s equal in raw talent, and certainly hasn’t had the sort of scripts sent to him that Brando did. Hackman (1930-), the plain-looking, balding, quintessential late-bloomer, who as an acting student flunked out of the Pasadena Playhouse, where he was considered the worst student in its history, got his first role after his thirtieth birthday. And yet, Hackman has had the more brilliant career, fully exploiting his gifts, and making the most of almost every role he has played. (For my money, Fredric March also had a greater career than Brando.) (P.S. Actually, a great many movie actors did: Chaplin, Alec Guiness, Spencer Tracy, Jimmy Stewart, Henry Fonda, Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant, James Cagney, Charles Laughton, Gary Cooper, Jack Lemmon, Michael Caine, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, even John Wayne.)

The Marlon Brando story is a cautionary tale.

For most of the last 40 years of his life, Brando was a bum, and he died a bum, but unlike Terry Malloy, he had no one to blame but himself. And yet, we will always have On the Waterfront, Viva Zapata, Sayonara and The Godfather, when he was beautiful.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Racial Dialogue in America: The “Racist Rant” That Almost Everyone is Condemning, but Won't Link to

By Nicholas Stix
Revised at 5:47 a.m. on Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Every time a black says he wants an “honest” dialogue about race, I reach for my wallet with one hand, and for my pistol with the other. Now, it is Senator Barack Hussein Obama, the “black” candidate for president, who says he wants “dialogue.”

Obama doesn’t want dialogue on race, any more than black people do. Dialogue for them means lecturing, hectoring, and otherwise abusing whites, lying to our faces about race, the more egregious lie the better, and daring us to tell the truth, so they can curse us, assault us, and have us arrested or professionally destroy us. “Dialogue” for blacks and those who claim to be black, is simply yet another occasion for the exercise of black racial power, i.e., the kind they always insist they don’t have.

Go ask Geraldine Ferraro what she thinks of Barack Hussein Obama’s kind of honest racial dialogue. When Ferraro spoke a home truth about Obama’s racial advantage in the presidential race, he immediately demanded she be fired as a Clinton campaign advisor, and she was (officially, she resigned, but she was fired).

Senator Obama is America’s greatest living orator. So much the worse for oratory. As with the lawyer joke, you can tell when the Senator’s lying, because his lips are moving. He lies about his knowledge of the beliefs of his black supremacist pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, he lies about the Jena race hoax, he lies about his own white grandmother, for crying out loud! As I have said of Rudy Giuliani, Barack Hussein Obama is a liar of presidential proportions.

A blogger who goes variously by “Old Guy”/“Old Punk” wrote an essay that all right-(left?)thinking people are denouncing, “Dealing with It.” OG/OP took Obama’s call for “dialogue” about race seriously.

That’s always a mistake. When someone, be it a “professional” diversity trainer or a regular, backstabbing supervisor has everyone meet in the office for a “frank” discussion about race, you know it’s a set-up, and that you must be as dishonest as possible, if you want to keep your job. The “facilitator” running things will look to get a white staffer to say something true, so he can he humiliated, sacked, professionally whitelisted, and made an example to the others.

The properly dishonest way to respond to such invitations is to speak softly—tears help greatly here—about how one catches oneself sometimes in stereotypically racist thoughts and reactions to blacks. Talk about your desperate need to overcome your racism. Someone may pat your hand, or even give you a hug.

Of course, you may still find yourself out of a job. After all, you just admitted to being a racist, which for people otherwise categorically opposed to capital punishment constitutes a hanging crime.

On second thought, it’s probably better to just nod and murmur approvingly with the rest of the herd, whenever the facilitator or a black staffer says something condemnatory of whites, and hope and pray you’re not forced to speak.

Been There, Done That

Barack Hussein Obama’s call for a national diversity training session is a case of déjà vu all over again. Early in President Clinton’s second term in office, he set up an equally phony, rigged, “national conversation on race.” Like Senator Obama’s “dialogue” on race, it was to be a monologue. After initially choosing only Democratic shills for his panel, which was chaired by black Duke University history professor and race hoaxer John Hope Franklin, for one episode Clinton added a token Republican, neo-conservative scholar, Abigail Thernstrom, for the purpose of harassing and humiliating her on live, national TV, as a proxy for all white critics of affirmative action.

(Clinton, who as president successfully fought every attempt to limit affirmative action, also got a measure of personal revenge against Thernstrom, who had just co-authored, with husband Stephan, the seminal study, America in Black & White. According to the Thernstroms, Clinton had broken the law, by having his aides, Christopher Edley and George Stephanopolous, violate Supreme Court decisions limiting affirmative action.)

Cry Uncle

The first thing you see at Old Guy/Old Punk’s post is a youtube set-up for a non-existent movie. Disney’s Song of the South (1946), which combined live action and animation, won two Academy Awards, and was long considered by many folks to be one of the greatest movies ever made. It’s based on Joel Chandler Harris’ Uncle Remus tales, which are still available, both in book form and for free on the Internet. (So, the Internet is still good for something).

Song of the South is a non-movie, because it cannot be bought in these Untied States. The “honest dialogue” people decided that it is racist, and demanded that Disney cease distribution of it. Disney, of course, caved in, because that is the way of honest racial dialogue. And so, I can’t see it or show it to my son. (A couple of years ago, I saw offers to purchase downloads of Song from the UK, for over $200 US.)

(A special Oscar was awarded to star James Baskett, the white-haired baritone singing the Oscar-winning song, “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah,” in the clip at Instapunk, “For his able and heart-warming characterization of Uncle Remus, friend and story teller to the children of the world, in Walt Disney's Song of the South.” One year later, Baskett was dead, at 44, of heart disease.)

The pretext for the hellfire and damnation being wished upon Old Guy/Old Punk is his use of the N-word, but he could have censored the entire section in which that term appears, without being vilified any less. These days, all you have to do is question affirmative action, in order to be vilified as a “racist” by the “honest dialogue” people.

The Test

In the fall of 1993, I went on a date with a biracial social worker (a field I had also worked in) who was 27, if memory serves. Her late Korean mother had met her black American father in Korea, where he was stationed in the Army.

We had a wonderful time. I know it was mutual, because not only did she act like she was enjoying herself, but she stayed out with me for 11 hours on a first date. This lady was no pushover; had she not been enjoying herself, she would have called it quits early. We saw a Chinese-American chick flick with an ensemble cast called The Joy Luck Club, had dinner, and hung out in the Union Square area of Downtown Manhattan.

She was attractive, intelligent, and except for one thing, personable. Although she was estranged from her father, whom she made no bones about disliking, she racially identified entirely with him.

At some point during the afternoon, she gave me an obvious loyalty test. Had I decided to pass it, I likely would have had a pretty good shot at earning her affections. She told a story about a young black man being pulled over by the police just because he was black, and insisted that it was an instance of a universal experience of all young black men.

The problem is, she was lying.

I had the choice between assenting to a lie and possibly getting involved with a very desirable woman—as long as I compartmentalized her racial dishonesty and bullying—and losing out.

The “choice” is an after-the-fact consideration; there was nothing to think about. In eight years in New York City, I’d experienced enough of black racism, black racial privilege, and black racial lies to last a lifetime.

Most men have to make a lot of compromises with the opposite sex, if they don’t want to spend their nights sitting alone in saloons or Dunkin’ Donutses, but lying about race to a race-obsessed woman was too much for me.

A day or two later, when I called her, and she said she didn’t want to go out with me again, she admitted it was because of the test.

She was an “honest dialogue” kind of person; they had a zero tolerance policy towards truthfulness in racial matters then, and have only gotten worse since. As far as my date was concerned, I might as well have used the “N”-word.

The Wrong Kind of Dialogue

Old Guy/Old Punk:

Obama says we should talk about race. He thinks that will help him. It won't. Most of us have spent a lifetime absorbing the lesson that seeing what we see automatically makes us racist. Do you want to talk about it? Do you? Really?

There are a few areas where, by virtue of age and experience, I think I can speak for the overwhelming majority of Americans. We want to get past racial problems. We recognize that slavery was a sin and that we have a moral obligation to see to it that our institutions and our own behavior are fair to everyone. We share a yearning so fierce that it amounts to an ache for a color-blind society in which all may prosper on the basis of abilities, not skin color. It is this intense emotion which facilitated the honeymoon period of Obama's campaign for the presidency.

But the color-blind society has not been achieved. What's more, we are constantly told -- lectured, hectored, propagandized -- that this state of affairs is our fault. We tend to accept the charge because the truth is we don't spend all our time thinking about race, and so we defer to those who think about nothing else because, well, we almost never get up in the morning thinking about how privileged we are to be white, which we've come to accept as yet another of our endless insensitivities about race….

I don't hate black people. I can't pretend to be color-blind because absolutely nothing in my culture will allow me to be. I admire Thomas Sowell, Duke Ellington, Roberto Clemente, Muhammed Ali, Alexandre Dumas… The bald truth of the matter is that they're better than I am, and it doesn't arouse a flicker of racial feeling in me to acknowledge it. They have enriched and elevated my own experience of life.

On the other hand, I am sick to death of black people as a group. The truth. That is part of the conversation Obama is asking for, isn't it?... Every day I see young black males wearing tee shirts down to their knees -- and jeans belted just above their knees. I'm an old guy. I want to smack them. All of them. They are egregious stereotypes.

Read the whole thing, which is beautifully written.

The condemnation was instantaneous. Not only did the honest dialogue people condemn the “racist rant,” but they condemned the Goliath of Republican bloggers (among others) for linking to an Easter presentation posted next to Old Guy/Old Punk’s essay. Of course none of the honest dialogue people would link to that which they excoriated; you don’t let people read such obscenities (even though you oppose all obscenity laws), you censor the source, get their blog shut down, track down and professionally whitelist the purveyor and his friends, and arrest, torture and execute them all.

I’m going to focus on one of the comments attacking Old Guy/Old Punk.

Faking Sincerity

JasonC 2008-03-23 09:39:00

great dialogue there. just another hateful old man who's convinced himself his own grossly limited perspective says something profound about american society as a whole. tell me, have you ever, you know, talked with any african-americans? i don't mean someone you've seen on tv... a real, honest to goodness black person... a real conversation? i know it sounds scary, but you might learn something (another scary thought, indeed)
i feel sorry for you.

“jasonC” doesn’t feel at all sorry for the essayist; that’s just his way of sounding morally superior to him. I quoted his comment because of the socialist talking point it expresses: ‘People who are right-of-center—you know, racists—think the way they do, because unlike progressives, they lack any experience with African-Americans.’

In 1975, when I was a juvenile delinquent and participated in the federally-funded, black supremacist Youth Justice Program, I did an internship with an agency that funded the YJP. The money came from the Safe Streets Act, and was routed through the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (I don’t recall if I was at LEAA). The woman who supervised me gave me an article to read on “stigma avoidance,” and I incorporated it into an essay I wrote on the need for the program, which was over 90 percent black, to be more integrated. If there were more white kids, I reasoned, less stigma would attach to being in the program.

I was writing the same sort of nonsense as jasonC, but my excuse was that I was only 17 years old. In the real world, most grown-ups have to put a lot of distance between themselves and black people, before they can “sincerely” express such dishonest views. The alternative is to find black protectors, and continually sell out other whites to racist blacks, like the white opportunists I crossed paths with in social work and the Asphalt League of urban academia. Otherwise, you constantly suffer racist, black brutality, which is kind of divisive, in its own way. At least in the YJP, while I took some bad beatings (and the occasional murder attempt), I was able to stand up to, and thereby earn the respect of some blacks. And the honest dialogue people hadn’t yet taken over. Those were the good, old days.

* * *

A tip ‘o the hat to VDARE’s James Fulford.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

New Blog: Guy White: Making Sense on Race

By Nicholas Stix

A friend sent me a link today to a well-written, hard-hitting new blog, Guy White: Making Sense on Race.

I hope that “Guy White” has the tenacity to maintain his blog, and that his name is a play on “white guy,” as writing honestly on race is not good for white men’s health.

Nine arrested in immigration raid: Immigration status not known

By Nicholas Stix

Here’s the sort of thing you just can’t make up: A March 22 Associated Press story in the Raleigh (NC) News & Observer with the headline, “Nine arrested in immigration raid.” The suspects, “from Indonesia, Mexico and Guatemala,” were arrested working at a Charlotte Olive Garden restaurant. “The workers' names and their charges have not been released.”

That’s odd. If an American citizen of legal age is arrested, his name is released.

“ICE spokesman Richard Rocha said the nine workers will go before an immigration judge who will consider deportation. He said their immigration status is not public record.”

No, let me rewind to the top of that paragraph:

“ICE spokesman Richard Rocha said the nine workers will go before an immigration judge who will consider deportation. He said their immigration status is not public record.”

Initially, I wrote: Richard Rocha was lying, and the reporter had to know it; the immigration status of every living person resident in these Untied States is a matter of public record. Determining that status may be a problem, however, if a person’s true identity cannot be ascertained, which could well be an issue in this age of overdocumented invaders. But upon re-readng the paragraph in question, I saw that that would be overkill.

We do, however, know the name of one suspect: Amalia de la Cruz.

“The daughter of one woman arrested said her mother had worked at the restaurant for eight years. Adriana Sanchez said her mother, Amalia de la Cruz, 56, was from Mexico.’We want to talk to her and tell her not to sign anything,’ Sanchez said as she went to see her mother at the Mecklenburg County jail.”

That’s odd. How, if “The workers' names and their charges have not been released,” could one suspect’s daughter have already spoken with reporters? Because the names have been released.

We know the immigration status of every single one of the nine suspects, even if the statement attributed to Rocha before the ridiculous claim about not knowing the workers’ immigration status had been lacking. (Please see the headline.) What sort of dissociative mind is required for one to say or write too such logically incompatible sentences, one after the other?

After all, the authorities did not carry out a drug raid, or a raid of an establishment for serving alcohol to minors, and this wasn’t a raid by the local Health Department for using stolen food.

And to claim that the workers’ names have not been released, even as you name one of them? I suppose the children of illegal immigrants always have local reporters’ telephone numbers on speed dial. (I was being sarcastic, but maybe I shouldn’t have been.)

You have to scratch your head and wonder why the story lied about the illegals’ immigration status. The first thing to note is that the ICE mouthpiece, Richard Rocha, lied, and the AP quoted his lie. But he’s the same source as the line about the possible deportation proceedings. I was just starting to get used to the authorities (assuming the reporter’s indirect quotes of Rocha were honest) taking the lead in lying, where politically incorrect crimes are concerned. And socialist journalism professors and “journalism ethics experts” always love to talk about “objectivity.” But you don’t have to be a journalist to know that there is nothing journalistically objective in quoting unchallenged an obvious lie. But this business of indirectly quoting contradictory statements from the same source is new to me.

Let us briefly consider the AP’s possible motives for this offense.
1. The reporter (and/or Rocha?) wanted readers to know that the story was about illegals, but was forbidden by his editor (supervisor?) from doing so openly;
2. As is the case with many compulsive liars, the AP (and ICE?) lies even when doing so is obvious, just to keep in practice;
3. Someone at the AP with a sense of irony wanted to give readers a good belly laugh; and
4. The AP always tries to get the truth out (as one AP reporter once claimed to me, regarding an AP cover-up), but it’s those darned local editors that keep stymying them!

Numbers one and two are options, but neither three nor four is; at the AP, having a sense of irony is a firing offense (The AP is heavy with the kind of folks who will say, “isn’t it ironic,” while letting loose with a leaden political platitude.), and as for #4, I can’t prove that a clear statement wasn’t on the AP’s feeds, but if it was, the consistency in suppressing certain politically incorrect facts by AP’s thousands of client outlets around the world is just incredible.

The March 22 story was reported by an AP staffer under condition of anonymity.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Obama, Saint or Nihilist? The Politician, the Preacher, and the Grandmother

By Nicholas Stix

Writing on Barack Obama Wednesday at his blog, Blithe Spirit, my Oak Park, IL journalist friend, Jim Bowman, raises “The Grandmother Issue.”

First, he quotes the Wall Street Journal’s John Fund:

Mr. Obama’s campaign has made clear that his 84-year old grandmother, who has asked to be left alone, should be considered off-limits to political reporters. But yesterday, it was Mr. Obama who didn’t leave her alone when he used her for one of the central themes of his speech.

(This is still more affimative action, whereby white critics are handcuffed and gagged, while Obama may strike and speak with impunity.)


O. said he can’t disown Rev. Wright, who spoke from a pulpit to a crowded church that sold CD’s with his sermons recorded, any more than his grandmother, who raised him and along the way made ‘stereotypical’ remarks in private that made him "cringe."

The problem is, Obama has his morals bass-ackwards. His apparent suggestion is that the preacher and the grandmother are morally equivalent, but his real story, as I see it, is that the black preacher is morally superior to the white grandmother who, for much of his childhood loved and raised and fed him, and paid for the roof over his head, after his black father deserted him and while his Marxist mother was off going native for her anthropology research.

Obama doesn’t see anything racist in his preacher—he apologizes if you take offense at what the preacher has said, and has denounced each of the Rev. Jeremiah “Goddamn America” Wright’s racist statements as it has been exposed, but has certainly lied in claiming to have never heard Wright make those utterances, and his statement in his Philadelphia speech that “Reverend Wright’s comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity …” is as phony as his follow-up statement,

Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way.

Those aren’t mere “snippets,” they are the essence of Jeremiah Wright. And no “caricatures” of Wright are necessary; he does the job just fine, on his own.

The preacher, who is light, bright, and damned near white, has been speaking that way for a generation, and if anything, Obama chose Wright as his preacher in a very careful, political calculation, not in spite of his racism, but because of it, just as he chose to become a “Christian” in an equally careful, political calculation.

Whatever his momentary talking point, Obama sees nothing racist in his preacher, because his own racist worldview defines it as impossible to call black hatred of whites “racism,” while defining whites as “racist.” If the foregoing sounds like sophistry, it is because it is sophistry, the sophistry of black supremacy and of white communist “anti-racism.”

And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me.... He contains within him the contradictions – the good and the bad – of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

“I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community.

But this means both that Wright is equally good and evil, and that he is as embraceable for the one as for the other. That sounds like Hegel or Marx, but not Christianity.

It's moral nihilism. Either Obama is denying the difference between right and wrong, or he's playing messiah. But what sort of messiah would be concerned with redeeming only one race of men, while disowning the others? And even that's just a role; Barack Obama is a cold, calculating politician.

I grew up surrounded by cut-throats, most of them white, and have no problem, whatsoever, disowning them. I disowned them when I chose to forswear crime and leave my neighborhood.

“I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

“These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.”

Note too that Obama is placing Wright, his grandmother, and the entire “black community” (which played no role whatsoever in raising and nurturing him, but not the white community, which he has disowned) on an even plane. That means that any black cut-throat is as important to him as his white grandmother--more important, I believe. Obama and his media mouthpieces will doubtless say I am being unfair to him. No, I am simply taking him at his word of the moment. I don’t give affirmative action passes for rhetorical bombast.

For the black supremacist, for the white “anti-racist,” the preacher’s very hatred of whites means he is not racist, while Obama sees racism in the grandmother who raised and supported him. The grandmother’s specific sin of racism obtains in having once refused to take the bus to work, because she was being racially harassed and shaken down at the bus stop by a vicious black panhandler. To treat the grandmother as a racist is par for the course for black and white racists (in this case, the self-proclaimed “anti-racists”), who routinely condemn as "racist" whites who complain about black racism.

As Steve Sailer wrote, in Obama’s Philadelphia speech, he “slander[ed] his own living grandmother for his political advantage,” describing her as “a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.” Sailer corrects the record:

Well, no, according to Obama’s 1995 book, it is not at all true that she “once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street.” Instead, she once confessed her fear of one aggressive black beggar who didn’t pass by her but instead confronted her, demanded money, and then gave her — an intelligent, level-headed woman who had worked her way up to a mid-level corporate management position — good reason to believe he would have violently mugged her if her bus hadn’t pulled up.

The preacher, on the other hand, is a black supremacist, whose bottomless hatred of whites is not based on any particular acts of racism by specific whites. (Annie Coulter came up with the best line regarding Obama’s speech: “Obama gave a nice speech, except for everything he said about race.”)

The preacher, Wright, is a follower of soulless “theologian” James H. Cone, the father of “black liberation” theology. (The soulless remark is not gratuitous; just try reading the tin-eared Cone’s er, thoughts, on black music, The Spirituals and the Blues.) In combining Marxism, Islam, and black supremacy, Cone reached the Holy Grail of Hate. (I’m not sure why he felt the need to use Marxism; perhaps it was to gain the support of white Marxist academics and publishers.) But there is nothing Christian in Cone’s thought. He doesn’t believe in Jesus as the Christ; he believes in Blackness. Or rather, his primary belief is in the evil of whiteness; any love he has for blackness is secondary to his hatred, whence “derives” too his hatred of America. (That America and whites have been so good to Wright and Cone is to their minds all the more reason to hate both.) And what Cone and Wright believe, the Obamas also believe. Otherwise, Obama would not have joined Wright’s church 20 years ago, the couple would not have had Wright marry them and baptize their children, they would not have remained there, and would not have vastly increased their contributions to the church, from $400 in 1998, to $5,000 in 2005, to $22,500 in 2006, the only years that the Chicago Tribune was able to get information on for a 2007 story (a tip o’ the hat to Steve Sailer).

Since I nailed Obama’s racism, radical leftism, and phony Christianity three-and-a-half years ago, none of the recent “revelations” about him are news to me. And since the socialist MSM have been Obamazombies since 2004 (and even “conservative” David Brooks has just gotten on the bus!), instead of finding yet more dissimulation in his most recent speech (as in his eloquent but dishonest 2004 Democratic Convention speech), they instead found ever more proof of his racial holiness.

Do Terrorists Have Rights?

by Nicholas Stix
November 11, 2003
Toogood Reports/Front Page Magazine

Is the U.S. a terrorist state? Are al Qaeda fighters the good guys? That's what you might think, to read the New York Times editorial page, and some of the humanitarian bureaucrat-activists who, though largely unknown to the general public, have tremendous clout with the Times.

An October 16 New York Times editorial (“The American Prison Camp”) attacked the Bush Administration for maintaining its detainee camp for terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Citing criticism of the Bush Administration by the International Committee of the Red Cross, the editorial claimed that Administration justifications for the camp “miss the point,” are “unpersuasive,” and have “no foundation in the Geneva Conventions,” and demanded, in the name of “justice,” that unlawful combatants (in this case, terrorists) be granted civil rights that the U.S. in previous wars had not granted even to lawful combatants. Traditionally, unlawful combatants have been considered not soldiers, but criminals, spies or saboteurs, and executed or imprisoned for lengthy sentences.

Note that the Red Cross—which also calls itself “the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement”—has barred groups at post-911 Red Cross events in the U.S. from singing “God Bless America,” lest they offend Muslims; has barred the Israeli Magen David ambulance service (which has an unblemished record of aiding the wounded, regardless of religion or politics, and having never aided terrorists) from joining; and has let its ambulances repeatedly be used by Palestinian terrorists in Israel—some of whom proved to be Palestine Red Crescent Society employees in good standing!—for the transportation of homicide bombers and weapons under humanitarian cover. And as scholar Jeremy Rabkin has noted, an official at the Red Cross/Red Crescent’s Geneva headquarters circulated the heinous blood libel, that claimed that Israel had orchestrated the 911 attacks.

As the example of the Red Cross/Red Crescent shows, humanitarianism is a sometime thing. And yet, as the murderous, October 27 attack on the Red Cross/Red Crescent’s Baghdad headquarters showed, even supporting terrorists fails to protect an organization from their wrath.

Like the Red Cross/Red Crescent, the U.N., Doctors Without Borders, and other “humanitarian,” “non-governmental” organizations are also hostile to America’s right to self-defense.

The New York Times insists that “The justifications offered by the administration are equally unpersuasive. The argument that the detainees are not prisoners of war because they are not uniformed members of a regular armed force has no foundation in the Geneva Conventions.”

That, simply, is a lie. On no less than five points, does the 1949 Geneva Convention explicitly support the Bush Administration’s position that the Guantanamo detainees are unlawful combatants, and thus not protected as prisoners of war, because:

1. They are not fighting for a Contracting Party to the Convention;
2. They are not “commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates”;
3. They wear no uniforms or the equivalent (“a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance”), identifying them as combatants;
4. They fail the test of “carrying arms openly”; and
5. They fail the test “of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.”

The Geneva Conventions implicitly recognize principles of reciprocity, the right of national self-defense, and enlightened, national self-interest; the New York Times does not – at least, not in the case of the U.S. And yet, since the Geneva Conventions have for many liberals a sacrosanct status, instead of saying that he held them in contempt, the Times editorialist chose to lie about what the Conventions say.

The Times was echoing a strategy which was established, after 911, by influential humanitarian organizations, including the Red Cross/Red Crescent and the Open Society Institute (OSI).

(OSI was founded and is funded by billionaire socialist George Soros, a Hungarian-born Jewish financier, who thinks that worldwide anti-Semitism is caused by … Jews! OSI’s president, Aryeh Neier, was the executive director of the ACLU and Human Rights Watch, respectively. During his time at the ACLU, Neier helped subvert the nation’s premier civil liberties group, transforming it into an anti-civil liberties, civil rights organization. Thus it is that the ACLU, an organization that in the past routinely sued to defend people’s First Amendment right to freedom of religion, now routinely sues to suppress people’s freedom of religion, under the complaint that others’ free exercise of religion “offends” the ACLU’s clients. A judiciary that recognizes a plaintiff’s—or certain plaintiffs’—right to be offended cannot also recognize civil liberties, because the right to take offense will not tolerate civil liberties. The right to take offense implies an unlimited prerogative on the part of certain plaintiffs to circumscribe other parties’ speech and action.)

As Aryeh Neier expressed them in a September, 2002 article, “Did the Era of Rights End on September 11?,” in Crimes of War magazine, his foreign policy ideas amount to the belief that ‘International law is a suicide pact – at least, for America.’ Based on a highly partisan notion of “rights,” which accrue to political allies, but are denied to political enemies, Neier advocates for the rhetorical fiction of international “humanitarian law,” which he insists is unilaterally binding on all nations. But in the case of the War on Terror, for Neier, such unilateral law is binding only on the U.S. That’s unilateralism, leftwing style.

Conversely, in the article, “After Guantanamo: The War Over the Geneva Convention,” in the Summer, 2002 issue of The Public Interest, Jeremy Rabkin, a Cornell University professor of international law, emphasized that the Geneva Convention is a contract or treaty, regulating conduct only between the parties to it. It is not a transcendent or universally binding law.

A treaty, as The Federalist (No. 64) explained in 1788, “is only another name for a bargain.” At the heart of the Geneva Conventions is this bargain: fight according to these professional rules and we will treat you with professional respect.

The main rules for defining combatant status go back to The Hague Convention of 1899. They are not based on ancient ideas of rank and courtesy. Rather, the rules were drawn up at conferences at which military officers were not merely present as observers, but constantly at the elbow of the diplomats and lawyers as full participants for what they could provide by way of practical advice. The rules thus rest pre-eminently on practical considerations.

Aryeh Neier cited Red Cross/Red Crescent criticisms of the Bush Administration, and the organization’s dubious interpretation of the Geneva Conventions, as part of his own misrepresentation of the Conventions.
(Neier also misrepresented Rabkin’s views, maintaining that Rabkin had argued that under the principle of reciprocity, one Contracting Party to the Conventions may breach the Conventions, while justifiably engaging in savage reprisals against the uniformed soldiers and civilians alike of an enemy Contracting Party to the Conventions, in response to the enemy’s breaches of the Conventions. Since Rabkin had explicitly condemned such reprisals, this was yet another lie on the part of Aryeh Neier, who would seem to lack any capacity for honest debate. It is Neier’s propagandistic modus operandi, apparently, to misrepresent the views of any document or thinker with whom he disagrees.)

Whereas under the laws of war, including the Geneva Conventions, terrorists have traditionally been treated as criminals, the Red Cross/Red Crescent and OSI’s insistence on treating terrorists as lawful combatants, legitimizes terrorism, and turns the laws of war upside down.

Although the “humanitarians” clearly do not confront this consequence, their way of thinking would ultimately also destroy the moral foundations of medical neutrality. Red Cross/Red Crescent units would have to be looked upon as mixed-use military units, which engage both in killing and saving lives.

(Due to repeated abuses of medical neutrality by the Palestine Red Crescent Society, Israeli soldiers have already been forced to take such a position. The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) has refused to accept responsibility for, or at least apologize for terrorist acts committed by its personnel using its vehicles, or take steps to protect against the abuse of its ambulances as terrorist delivery vehicles. Instead, the PRCS has taken the rhetorical offensive, using propaganda identical to that of Yassir Arafat, in seeking to organize “the World Community and Governments” to intervene on its behalf against Israel, and prosecute Israeli soldiers as “war criminals.”

The PRCS is a terrorist organization. That it also engages in humanitarian work is beside the point; Hamas also engages in humanitarian work on behalf of Arab Muslims, when it is not murdering Jews. The PRCS beckons as the future face of humanitarianism.)

Working under a cloak of feigned neutrality, “humanitarians”—aided and abetted by the New York Times—seek to disarm the U.S. in the War on Terror. They would usurp control from the U.S. over such matters as the determination of who is a lawful combatant, and grant civil rights—which rightfully attach only to citizens—to foreign terrorists. The humanitarian groups and the Times seek to give terrorists a platform in the American judicial system, politicize every aspect of the War on Terror, and bury the federal courts under an avalanche of terrorism cases.

As Jeremy Rabkin observed, “This episode should warn the wise that ambitious new versions of international law are likely to become a continuing source of mischief in the world, and much trouble to the United States.”

Black Columnist Tells Whites, ‘Leave Obama and Wright Alone!’ An Exercise in Reading Black

By Nicholas Stix

Having spent most of my life surrounded by black racism, and having begun scientifically studying black racism in 1990, sometimes I’ll be reading black, and a writer’s meaning will be obvious to me, but will prove to have eluded (as I suppose it was meant to) other white readers, even really astute ones. And so, I am going to conduct a little exercise in reading black, using as my text the March 20 Chicago Sun-Times column of Mary Mitchell, “Wright caught in undeserved political glare.” My comments will appear in brackets, following quotes from Mitchell.

Subhed: “Whites don’t get it, blacks do -- and it’s time to move on”

Lede: “We get it. A lot of white people were offended by snippets of sermons by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr.”

[Mitchell is saying ‘critics took Wright’s words out of context.’ And in what context could the words, spoken in September 2001 in support of Al Qaeda’s 9/11 attack not be construed as black supremacist, and as what in a more sensible time would have been called treasonous?]

“But frankly, critics and those who are supporting a candidate other than Sen. Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination have gotten all of the mileage they can out of this debate.”

[Mitchell” ‘It’s whites who are the racial demagogues.’ Ms. Mitchell, critics have not even begun to drive.]

“The aftermath of this racially polarizing incident is predictable. Instead of rising to the challenge to move away from the racial rhetoric that Obama talked about in his historic speech, we the media will continue to fan its flames.”

[Mitchell: ‘Drop the matter now, and leave him alone.’ But the MSM has given Obama a free pass. What Mitchell is saying is that none of the protection the MSM has given Obama counts for anything in her eyes. As far as she is concerned, Jim Crow has never ended.

Approximately forty years ago, every big newsroom around the country began hiring racist loons like Mary Mitchell, and giving them a veto right over the reporting on race. They abused that power, in order to censor any honest reporting on black racism, corruption, and social pathologies, and at the same time to impose a policy of race-baiting, dishonest reporting on whites, including the promotion of one outrageous black race hoax after another. At the time, a phrase was popular for describing Black Panther-type revolutionaries: “People who won’t take ‘yes’ for an answer.” The phrase was also an apt description of the new cadres of racist black newsroom enforcers, and in part due to their agitations, came to describe most of urban black America. Sometime during the 1990s, aging black supremacist Les Payne, then one of the top editors at Newsday, remarked that he owed his job to the 1960s’ race riots. That may be one of the few honest statements Payne ever made.

But now that the MSM policy of protecting black supremacists like the Rev. Wright has broken down, due in part to the Internet, and in part to cable TV news, Mitchell is outraged. Isn’t there a discrimination law against telling the truth about blacks?

How will Mitchell’s white colleagues, who had done everything in their power to cover for Obama and Wright, feel about Mitchell turning on them? Actually, I think her condemnation of the media and demand that whites drop the matter, together comprise a warning directed at just those colleagues. And given thoe white colleagues' total lack of self-respect in dealings with blacks, I suppose that for a month or so they’ll respond by raging even louder than usual against “white racism.”]

“And, of course, the vote in Pennsylvania, where that state’s governor, Ed Rendell, has already said ‘conservative’ whites will not vote for Obama because he is black, will be dissected to prove that Obama’s relationship with Wright cost him white votes.”

[Mitchell: ‘Only racist whites who were never going to vote for Obama anyway were affected by this racist brouhaha orchestrated by the media, who continue to fan its flames.’]

“At this point, Obama has done all he can do to put this matter to rest.”

[The hell, he has. In his speech, he tried to flip the script, and turn his and Wright’s racism into an indictment of white Americans, calling for whites to be impoverished by having endless trillions more of their hard-earned income confiscated, and handed over to blacks, as if they hadn’t already paid reparations of five trillion to ten trillion dollars.]

“At this point, Obama has done all he can do to put this matter to rest.

“He has condemned Wright’s controversial sermons as ‘wrong’ and ‘divisive,’ even though he knows as well as I do that after 9/11, you could have walked into several activist churches in Chicago and heard a similar sermon delivered from the pulpit.

[In other words, as I have been writing since 1990, while being variously ignored or condemned as a “racist,” black supremacy is anything but a fringe phenomenon among American blacks. And Mitchell fails to see what the big deal is, in the first place. Whites should be happy that Obama condemned the speech, and shut up.]

“And he has given many black people reason to pause by distancing himself from a man he once introduced to the world as his spiritual leader.”

[‘Watch it, Barack. You’ve pandered to them way too much, already. You’re in danger of becoming a Tom.’]

“But the one thing he has not done is give his critics the satisfaction of seeing him ‘disown’ Wright by leaving Trinity and letting stand the false notion that

Trinity is the ‘separatist’ and ‘racist’ institution it has been made out to be.”

[Of course, it is separatist and racist. The fact that the vast majority of urban blacks are racial separatists and racists doesn’t mean that one cannot condemn them or Trinity in such terms. When evil spreads, it is not somehow transubstantiated into good. Mitchell denies that Trinity is racist, because for her, black racism is virtue incarnate. Hating whites is not racist, but righteous. And she denies that trinity is separatist, because she considers blacks a separate nation; thus, for her, when blacks stand apart and against white Americans, they are engaging in unity, not separatism.]

“Nowhere to be found

“For many blacks, such an act would have been seen as a betrayal.

“As it is, the political warfare has thrust Wright, a man with a charismatic leadership style, a big-hearted nature, and grass-roots organizing skills, into an undeserved spotlight.

[He supported the 911 attacks on America, exhorted other blacks to share his treason, and exhorted other terrorists to attack America, as well. His organizing skills have been employed in the service of the Devil. And as for the spotlight, he was protected from the glare of scrutiny that should have blinded him six-and-a-half years earlier. The question is not, why was he now “thrust into the spotlight,” but why was he not in 2001? How much does he owe to the protection of black racists like May Mitchell, and how much to white media leftists who either shared his treasonous sympathies or were too cowardly to do the right thing?]

“Yes, undeserved.

“Where was that spotlight when Wright, whose church was no less Afro-centric than it is now, led Trinity to be among the first in the nation to take the fight against South Africa’s former racist government to the streets?”

[The spotlight was on Wright! But who is taking South Africa’s present “racist government to the streets”?]

“Where was that spotlight when Wright took a small but devout membership and grew it to an estimated 8 ,000 members that include some of the most respected citizens in Chicago?”

[The spotlight was on Wright! But who would dare then to tell the truth about his black supremacy? Who would warn the country about this growing menace?]

“Where was that spotlight when Wright launched one of the earliest responses to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the black community right here in Chicago?”

[The spotlight was on Wright! But who would then dare to tell the truth about his repeating of Chicago black supremacist Steve Cokeley’s blood libel, claiming that whites invented AIDS to infect blacks? The fact is that for over 30 years, the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah T. Wright enjoyed a free ride, just like countless racist black public figures across the country, including scribes.]

“Where were we?

“We were nowhere to be found.”

[You were everywhere, you damned liar.]

“I have not spoken to Wright, who will retire in June as the church’s senior pastor, but I imagine his heart is broken.”

[Heart? What heart?]

“After all, he didn’t labor in the vineyard for 36 years among the mighty and the low to be demonized by white people who not only don’t have a grasp of the black church experience, but apparently don’t have a desire to understand why that experience is rife with emotions.”

[For 36 years, he has sown the seeds of hatred, and reaped the grapes of wrath.

“Emotions” is a euphemism for racial hatred. And why don’t whites have “a grasp of the black church experience”? Because black racist newsroom enforcers like you and your white leftist sycophants won’t tolerate it. And when whites finally got a “grasp” of that experience, you engaged in sophistry and race-baiting, claiming that what whites saw was taken out of context—”snippets”—and somehow was mitigated by all the good Wright did out of church. But it wasn’t out of context, and if he were such a great churchman, you wouldn’t have to change the subject by talking about the good he supposedly does outside of church (in the same manner of apologists for the genocidal Nation of Islam), and even misrepresent that work!]

“Despite all the hoopla, Wright is revered on the South Side of Chicago and is treated as a gifted theologian across the country.”

[So much the worse for the South Side, and for anyone who reveres him as a “theologian.”]

“Politically astute

“Indeed, many would consider it a great honor to be nurtured spiritually at the feet of a man like Jeremiah Wright.

[Many more would consider it an abomination, but who’s counting?]

“He has two master’s degrees, including one from the University of Chicago Divinity School, and earned his doctorate from the United Theological Seminary.”

[This is supposed to impress me? Under the regime of affirmative action, which already in Martin Luther King Jr.’s day existed unofficially in academia, any unprotected black walking on or near a university campus is in constant danger of getting plunked on the head by a flying, framed graduate degree. University administrators throw these things at every black they see. It’s quite a dangerous situation.

The true significance for Mitchell is that Wright is black and has those degrees. See if you can find Mary Mitchell swooning over a white man, because he has similar credentials. This is a common behavior among black racists: Having fancy degrees makes a black the cat’s pajamas, but in the case of a Republican, heterosexual, white man are just signs of racial privilege. Having spent more years institutionalized in higher education than I care to admit as an undergrad, graduate student, and college instructor, fancy degrees don’t mean much to me, even when white guys have them.]

“Besides his four earned degrees, Wright has received eight honorary doctorates from acclaimed universities and colleges."

[Mitchell just cited eight additional scandals, as if they were points of pride. How’s that for turning lemons into lemonade?]

“Abraham Lincoln once said: ‘To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.’”

[True enough. For over 40 years, Americans have sinned in silence, in the face of black supremacy. I do not intend to one day find myself on my deathbed, full of regret for having likewise remained silent.]

“But in this case, those who have held their peace about Wright aren’t cowards. They are politically astute enough to know that this battle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers.”

[Who are the “astute” ones to whom she refers, and who the “principalities” and “powers”?]

“As for Obama and his wife, Michelle, this episode must have been devastating.”

[The crocodile tears are rolling down my cheeks.]

“There are few places in this world that one can find the kind of peace and camaraderie that is found among those of the same faith."

[Which faith might that be? Christianity, it ain’t.]

“Yet at a time when Obama and his family needed it most, their sacred relationship with their church was tossed adrift by people who couldn’t care less.”

[There’s nothing sacred about Trinity United Church of Christ, which is a political and racial supremacist organization that, were it run along similar lines by a white, would have lost its non-profit status a generation ago for violation of the tax laws governing houses of worship, and whose pastor might very well have landed in jail. And what is true of Trinity is true of most large black churches. Mitchell is despicably trying to turn scrutiny of Trinity and Obama into a violation of the privacy of the candidate and his racist wife. Note that, aside from the general issue of it being perfectly fit and proper to inquire into Obama’s church, the Rev. Wright has made a fortune off the sales of his political speeches from the pulpit, or as he calls them, “sermons.”]

“Like I said, we get it.”

[You don’t get anything. What Mitchell is sarcastically saying is, ‘You racist whites will do anything to thwart a strong black man.’]

“Now let’s move on.”

[That was an order. No, we’ll not be moving on. Who died, and made you dictator, Mary Mitchell?]

* * *

In 2006, many black Chicagoans sought to rename a street in honor of Fred Hampton. Hampton was a young, charismatic leader of the Black Panthers. The Panthers were a black supremacist, domestic terrorist group that engaged in extortion and drug dealing, but there was nothing distinctive about that, or there’d be 100,000 American streets named after black drug dealers and extortionists. What made the Panthers truly distinctive was their pioneering work in black supremacist pedagogy, by teaching black children that they were in a race war against whites, and in their systematic, national campaign assassinating policemen. Although they preferred murdering white policemen, they occasionally murdered black policemen, as well.

Fred Hampton was responsible for the ambush murders of white CPD patrolmen Frank G. Rappaport and John J. Gilhooly, who were shot by his henchmen, Spurgeon Winters and Lance Bell, on November 13, 1969.

Whether Hampton actually ordered the specific murders of Rappaport and Gilhooly is immaterial. As the leader of a terrorist organization, he was responsible for all killings carried out by his followers. (Although the analogy is imperfect, because John Gotti ran a criminal organization, while Hampton ran a terrorist organization, Gotti was responsible for every murder carried out by members of the Gambino crime family.)

In the early morning hours of December 4, 1969, Hampton and his lieutenant, Mark Clark, were shot to death in their apartment by a city-county-state-federal task force.

Mary Mitchell has grieved for Hampton and Clark ever since, and passionately supported the naming of a Chicago street “Fred Hampton Way.”

Mitchell and other Panther supporters (e.g., Hugh Pearson, in his book, Shadow of the Panther) frequently refer to the shootings of Hampton and Clark as “murders,” while rationalizing away Hampton’s culpability for the ambush murders of Rappaport and Gilhooly. (Actually, while Pearson has condemned the killings of Hampton and Clark as “murder,” he airbrushed the white policemen’s murders out of existence.) Meanwhile, I have never read an MSM writer of any race defend the killings of Hampton and Clark.

Fred Hampton was leading the Panthers in a race war, but he refused to honor the laws of war. His soldiers did not wear uniforms, separate themselves from civilians or, except when they were putting on a media show, brandish their weapons openly, making he and them “unlawful combatants.” Hampton’s favorite phrase was “Off the pigs!” and his followers responded in kind. He was also teaching the ways of race war to poor black children.

Not only do unlawful combatants not enjoy due process under civilian law, they don’t enjoy the minimum of legal protections under the laws of war. And I am speaking, based on the Geneva Conventions.

I realize that many readers will doubt that I speak based on the foundations of the Conventions, but that is because the latter have been so thoroughly misrepresented by treasonous supporters of al Qaeda.

As unlawful combatants, Fred Hampton and Mark Clark received battlefield executions, in what was the most righteous extrajudicial shooting in the history of the City of Chicago.

Mary Mitchell is so obsessively supportive of the Black Panthers and wistful in her longing for Hampton, that she finds the oddest pretexts for invoking their names.
In her February 10, 2004 column, “Trust fades as war cry rings too hollow,” she somehow managed to leapfrog from President Bush’s speech admitting that we had not yet found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, to Hampton and Clark!

“I listened to Bush on Sunday and thought about Fred Hampton and Mark
Clark, the Black Panther leaders who were gunned down in their West Side
apartments during a police raid in 1969.”

My black supremacist readers will surely complain that I have quoted mere snippets of Mitchell’s words out of context. To which I say: Read her column. There is no context that would give sense to her words.

Mitchell complained, among other things, about the law enforcement officers (LEOs) having fired 100 shots to Clark’s one. Citing the number of shots LEOs fire at black suspects is now a pillar of the Black School of Rhetorical Bombast, according to which one shot fired at a racist, ultra-violent black is one shot too many. The only situation that would have satisfied Mitchell would have had Hampton and Clark shooting all of the LEOs dead, getting away without a scratch, and receiving a ticket tape parade and the keys to the city.

The point of the raid was to kill Hampton and Clark. It was not to give them an opportunity to murder still more LEOs.

Mitchell has claimed, among other things, that it was mere coincidence that Winters and Bell were Panthers and that they murdered two cops. You see, the current story is that Winters and Bell hadn’t actually planned on murdering two white cops that night; their real plan was to murder a black prison guard, and the white cops just popped up. According to Mitchell, they were two cop-killers who just happened to be Panthers. And it was just a coincidence that their fearless leader constantly called on them to murder policemen.

Mary Mitchell lives in a world of coincidences.

Somehow, whites managed to successfully beat back the “Fred Hampton Way” proposal.

In Mitchell’s March 7, 2006 column, “Blacks, whites unlikely to see eye to eye on sign,” she led with,

“Sometimes black and white Chicagoans need to agree to disagree -- and move on. This is one of those times. After all, most white people will never understand what Black Panther leader Fred Hampton’s life and death meant to black people. They did not live with the brutality that most black people endured at the hands of police in the late 1960s.”

“Most black people”? At that point, my b.s. meter exploded, and I had to go to the supply closet for a new one. (I run through them so quickly that I have to buy ‘em by the gross.)

Mitchell’s opening sounded almost diplomatic, but that was mere pretext. In her closing, she told “white people” to get out of black people’s business. Imagine a white columnist addressing blacks that way. His editor would kick him down the stairs. And as far as Mitchell and her ilk are concerned, ruling America is black people’s business.

I say, let’s not move on. And no, we can’t all get along. And when will blacks ever get out of whites’ business?