Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Poisonous Peas in a Pod

The Chancellor was a terrorist
The Washington Examiner on April 24th, in its article, “Obama: Germany’s Merkel is right on refugee welcome,” reported President Barack Obama’s European musings on immigration:

President Obama says German Chancellor Angela Merkel is “on the right side of history” in how she has responded to the influx of thousands of Syrian refugees surging into Europe.

At a press conference Sunday, the president said he is “proud” of Merkel and the German people for their open-door policy of migrants fleeing violence and uncertainty in their home country.

“She is on the right side of history on this,” Obama said as he stood next to Merkel in Hannover, Germany. “And for her to take on some very tough politics in order to express not just a humanitarian concern but also a practical concern, that in this globalized world, it is very difficult for us to simply build walls.”

And now many Europeans are fleeing their home countries for points that do not welcome hordes of destructive and hostile Muslim barbarians who have boasted that Germany and other Western countries are “dead meat.”  Doors are opening all over the Continent. However, they are swinging doors that can snap back to strike Merkel harshly on her electoral derriere.

Obama again:

Obama’s praise comes after Merkel faced fallout in a referendum of sorts on her immigration policy. In last month’s state elections, Merkel’s party, the Christian Democrats, took a beating. An anti-immigration party made significant gains.

Obama has promised to admit 100,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees into the U.S. this year. He faces pushback from Republicans who fear a possible security threat. GOP presidential candidates, like front-runner Donald Trump, have attacked Obama’s pledge to allow refugees into this country.

But it is not just a security threat in back of those concerns. The literal invasion of the U.S. by hordes of Muslims – especially Syrian, Iraqi, and Somalian Muslims – poses a cultural and political threat, as well. The introduction of so many hostile and assimilation-resistant Muslims is part and parcel of the Muslim Brotherhood’s overall plan to subvert the country from within, per the General Memorandum of 1991. The country can be rotted from within through demographics and an overall plan to perpetuate the welfare state.

The ideological symbiosis between Obama and Merkel is worth exploring. Obama and Merkel are political leaders determined to “remake” their countries in conformance with their mutual ideologies. Obama’s motivation has been repeatedly demonstrated to be rooted in an undiluted malevolence for America, one closely allied to his Alinsky/Communist agenda. He wants to swamp America and Western culture with hordes of people “of color” more amenable to the welfare state (at least, that is his premise) so that the demographics shift to perpetuate the welfare state, statism, and the Democratic grip on the country. He wants to create the “new American” who isn’t automatically “white.”

Dare, if you will, accuse Obama of racism, of racism by explicit policy and little disguised malice. Obama’s “resettlement” program, paid to Christian “charities” with tax dollars, is community-organizing along ethnic lines. It differs little from Merkel’s except in scale.

I am the "new American man"
Merkel is largely motivated by her East German Communist upbringing. Her Communist ideology is proof against all reason. The collapse of Soviet Russia in 1989-1991 with its East European satellites, including East Germany, left her in an ideological void, as an outlander. In her life, there was no “yearning to breathe free” of tyranny. Her desire and career path were to become a member of the East German Communist establishment. How could she “relate” to freedom? There was no way she could truly sympathize with what millions of East Germans wanted and what West Germans had enjoyed for decades. She could not “relate” to it without voluntarily undergoing a philosophical and moral sea change, in her politics and in herself. And that was not going to happen. She was in her mid-thirties when the Berlin Wall came down. Too much energy had been invested in pushing the collectivist line. The girl can’t help herself.

You can take the statist ideologue out of tyranny and place him in a relatively free political and social environment, but, after a certain age, you can't take the statist out of the person, together with a tenacious need and compulsion to control things and people. The ideologue isn’t going to be impressed or persuaded by the cornucopia of wealth available in a free country. He will enjoy them, and even extol them, but he will always stump for a “higher” purpose for living other than enjoying life.

Merkel’s grand design is to fabricate the “new German man” who will be of the old stock of Germans somehow amalgamated with immigrant Muslims. Germans are proving highly resistant to the shotgun marriage.

On April 12, 1961, Yuri Gagarin’s historic spaceflight shook the world, sending enthusiastic crowds of Soviet citizens onto the streets to celebrate. Just a few months later, the Twenty-Second Congress adopted new Communist Party program, which set the goal of building the foundations of communism in the Soviet Union by 1980. This all-out drive toward communism had two crucial components: the construction of a material and technical basis of communism, and the development of the “new Soviet man” – “a harmonic combination of rich spirituality, moral purity, and physical perfection.” Who better than Gagarin to embody this new ideological construct? From “New Soviet Man: Inside Machine: Human Engineering, Spacecraft Design, and the Construction of Communism.” Science, Technology and Society Program, E51-185, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139; April 2005)

From the October Soviet coup d’├ętat of the Provisional government to the wheezy collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991, Soviet citizens and East Europeans were indoctrinated on the vision of the “new Soviet Man.” He was a creature who would mindlessly fit into Communist ideology and be in every way compatible with it, not only in space, but on the ground in industry and agriculture and economic regulation. He would be “programmed” to make Communism be his only motivation, to help to make it work, and be instilled to labor ceaselessly to advance the triumph of Communism in Russia and everywhere else.

Reuters reported in August 2015 on the mass immigration into Germany:

The number of immigrants living in Germany rose by 3.7 percent last year to a record high of 11 million and a fifth of the population is of migrant background, the Federal statistics Office said on Monday.

The figures highlight Germany’s growing reliance on foreign-born workers to drive its powerhouse economy, Europe’s largest, as well as its acceptance of hundreds of thousands of refugees. Many of the immigrants came from other European Union countries, such as Poland, Romania, Italy, Bulgaria, and Hungary.

Last year, the number of people living in Germany of a migrant background had risen by around 1.5 million, or 10 percent, from 2011. The native population – excluding people of a migrant background – fell by 1.4 percent.

Poles, Romanians, and Hungarians might assimilate into Germany enough to be taken for Germans, and perhaps even “feel” German. But Muslims have proven relentlessly over time to resist becoming “German,” that is, to not surrender their Islamic identities, but who, not so ironically, expect their host countries to adapt and defer to Islam. Second generation Muslim immigrants, particularly Turks, are not the “new German men.” They are in the vanguard of Muslim activism and even terrorism. The only thing Muslims are busy doing is preying on European women, harassing European men, hanging around in refugee and asylum centers, trashing private property seized by the government to house “refugees,” and perhaps doing a little dope business on the side to supplement their welfare state handouts.

Refugees and asylum seekers coming to your town
About those rape statistics in Germany and Scandinavia, one must ask oneself: Are Muslim women so unattractive that they are not the usual victims of Muslim rapes?  Well, it might have something to do with their Islamic dress, which is to make them as unalluring as possible.

But Merkel, to Obama’s applause and pats on the back, sees the barbarians as the “new Germans.” They will become the new “workforce” of Germany.  Walid Shoebat and others disagree vehemately and pointedly.

German Municipalities estimates that just two percent of Muslim refugees in the rehabilitation program are ready to take a job. “You are not ready to work.” The stamp is the vast majority of refugees by the municipalities. Daniel Greenfield, in his article The Death of Europe, said: “The Muslim migrants are meant to be the retirement plan for an aging Europe. But the Mohammed retirement plan won’t save European Socialism. It will bury it.” Politiken: The figures cover refugees who have been granted asylum in Denmark and 31 in December were doing an integration program in a municipality. The refugees receive either cash or integration performance.

Merkel also wants more propaganda spread through Africa inviting the diseased beggars there to come to Germany and learn a trade. Good luck with that. What Europe and America needs, in addition to “resettled” ISIS fighters, are the killers of Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab planted in our midst.

The retirement plan that Islam has in store for Europe is to end Europe by invitation from Merkel and her political ilk elsewhere on the Continent. Islam is in Europe. And Europe is now a satrap of Islam.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Chomsky at the Bit

Fast on the heels of publishing “And the World Was Made Right” (Rule of Reason, April 23), which has had an incredible and positive response from many quarters, I happened to read Cliff Kincaid’s review of Michael Walsh’s The Devil’s Pleasure Palace: The Cult of Critical Theory and the Subversion of the West on AIM’s site (Accuracy in Media). The review is titled “Defunding the Marxist Madrassas.”
Mortar boards on freshly minted flatheads

Kincaid’s review of the Walsh book opens with some richly deserved swipes at Noam Chomsky, the MIT professor of everything under the sun. For decades, the name, “Noam Chomsky,” for me, at least, has evoked the image of a leftist college professor instructing his student victims to “thoroughly chew” his latest theory – say, of Cognitive closure, or of Psychological nativism, or of Recursion in language -- until they can memorize it and recite it back to him verbatim (preferably in a choral mode). That is, after all, the nature of an Islamic madrassa – to memorize – not to understand or critique the Koran and other Islamic texts – until one’s mind is completely subverted by masses of illogic and non sequiturs and one is no longer able to think. Once one has memorized by rote every little comma, simile, and metaphor of the Koran, one is ready to join the Taliban (Islamic students) to kill and terrorize.

And that is, more or less, what American students of Chomsky (and students of his ilk elsewhere in academia) to go out and do: become activists for Socialism, Social Justice, to Occupy Wall Street, occupy your home, occupy your business, and become the snowflakes for “safe places” and the hoarse hollerers for women’s restrooms being open to transgenders and LGBTs of every stripe. And also become advocates and demonstrators for Muslim immigration and trigger-warning sensitive freshmen.

Noam Chomsky, a Marxist professor who says he has been at MIT for 65 years, maintains that we need a new economic system. He has endorsed something called “the next system,” which is supposed to replace free enterprise capitalism. My counter-proposal is for a “next system” to replace Chomsky and other Marxists in academia. My old friend, “Jimmy from Brooklyn,” a legendary anti-communist, says what we need is the defunding of the “Marxist Madrassas,” otherwise known as college and universities.

The “next system” appears to be the total collectivization of the country, and especially of the realm of education. Here, at Alternet, is Chomsky caught with his socialist pants down:

An initial signatory to the Next System statement, Chomsky explores the connections between culture, mass movements, and economic experiments—which in “mutually reinforcing” interaction, may build toward a next system more quickly than you may think. 

Next System Project: As the Next System Project engages in dozens of university campus-based teach-ins across the country, what do you think of such approaches to engaging campus communities in deep, critical inquiry—can they help transform our society?

Doubtless Chomsky applauds Bernie Sanders, the socialist presidential candidate. But perhaps he instead regards Sanders as a doddering, buffoonish, semi-senile old fool suffering from genuine cognitive closure. That would be a fair assessment of the failure in carpentry.

And here is statement by “the next system,” a statement that dances around the term “socialism” and is an instance of sociological puffery:

We are at or near the bottom among advanced democracies across a score of key indicators of national well-being—including relative poverty, inequality, education, social mobility, health, environment, militarization, democracy, and more.

We have fundamental problems because of fundamental flaws in our economic and political system. The crisis now unfolding in so many ways across our country amounts to a systemic crisis.

Today’s political economic system is not programmed to secure the wellbeing of people, place and planet. Instead, its priorities are corporate profits, the growth of GDP, and the projection of national power.

Large-scale system change is needed but has until recently been constrained by a continuing lack of imagination concerning social, economic and political alternatives. There are alternatives that can lead to the systemic change we need.

Kincaid goes on:

Of course, Chomsky does not want to replace the system that pays his salary and provides a platform for his Marxism. A real alternative to the current economic system would take the taxpayers off the hook for subsidizing state colleges and universities that keep Marxists like Chomsky on the payroll and undermine traditional values.

It is said that Chomsky is a “philosopher, linguist, and social critic.” Whatever this means, it looks like he has more time to spout his Marxism than to teach his students anything worthwhile. Perhaps that is his intention. By failing to educate students in practical skills useful for real jobs, he leaves them hopeless and despondent about the system that he wants them to replace. His students are his cannon fodder for “the next system,” which is supposed to be brought into being by students who are turned into activists through brainwashing sessions organized by the likes of Chomsky.

Michael Walsh, as Kincaid reveals, offers a truly radical solution to today’s college “crisis” and the unimaginable debt assumed by college students and by the taxpayer: scrap the Ivy Leagues, state colleges, and community colleges, put the Marxists out of work, and patronize the plethora of existing and future online universities each of which would offer tuition costs infinitesimally lower than the standard costs of about $20,000 per year.

Average, semi-literate college student,
now smothered in Federal kudzu debt

Michael Walsh is the latest to document the influence of cultural Marxism in academia and American society at large. His book, The Devil’s Pleasure Palace: The Cult of Critical Theory and the Subversion of the West, examines how American institutions have been taken over by the likes of Chomsky. The solution, however, cannot rest simply with exposure or even reform. The cultural Marxists will not cede power over the minds of the young. Instead, the solution is to establish new institutions that attract parents and young people to educational alternatives which promise marketable skills and jobs in the real economy.

Those alternatives are usually grouped under the rubric of online learning. These low-cost alternatives to brick-and-mortar colleges and universities can also address another pressing problem for many young people—massive college debt through federal loans that in 40 percent of the cases are not repaid. The current federal student loan debt stands at a staggering $1.2 trillion. The current system is unsustainable.

It is unfortunately true that many of these online or vocational schools are already in hock to or dependent on federal and government financing schemes for their students (such as Kaplan and ECPI). The ultimate solution is to get the government out of education altogether.

Writes Kincaid:

Judging by the success of Sanders in the presidential race, it would appear that the real crisis is that higher education has failed to prepare young people for the future and has instead left them struggling to pay tens of billions of dollars in student loan debt. However, those turning out for Sanders have been led to believe that more taxes and debt are the solution. This approach leaves Marxists like Chomsky, still ensconced in academia, agitating for the “next system” of socialism that will leave young people even more hopeless.

Even if their debts are “forgiven,” and the federal debt monkey is off their backs, most of these students will be ill-prepared to live independent, productive lives in the real world. Kincaid writes:

This process of subversion has been going on too long to hope for reform of the academic institutions that have been captured and rotted from within. We need to defund those that already exist, and create new institutions to replace those in the hands of the cultural Marxists. Some of them are online structures such as Amberton University and Western Governors University.

My friend "Jimmy from Brooklyn" says we need to go further, in regard to existing colleges and universities, and demand a "separation of Marx and state," so that affirmative action for conservative professors can be implemented to strive for some sort of equality and real "diversity."

Michael Walsh’s The Devil’s Pleasure Palace is a must read for anyone who is concerned about the costs and the direction of higher education. Today, in America, “higher” education more often than not means brainwashing on psychedelic drugs of the Marxist kind.

Academics like Noam Chomsky should be put out to pasture with Bernie Sanders before they destroy more minds.  

The Devil’s Pleasure Palace: The Cult of Critical Theory and the Subversion of the West, by Michael Walsh. Jackson, TN: Encounter Books, 2015.  280 pp.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

And the World Was Made Right

It would be interesting to chronicle the state of the world on the off chance that everything in it would be made right per the demands and expectations of today’s activists, social justice warriors, and champions of Social Progress. This was done in a speech by Louis Farrakhan, head of the Nation of Islam, in a commencement address delivered at the University of Chicago, at which he was presented with an Honorary Doctorate in Racial Harmony.
·    All climate change deniers and skeptics were executed, as advocated for years the Secret Society of the Global Warming Collect, by professional hangmen and executioners hired from ISIS. The first executions were presided over by Al Gore, former vice-president of the old U.S. European culprits were transported to Raqqah, the capital of the Islamic State Caliphate, and dispatched there with graphic footage broadcast to Europe. The experienced executioners there made short work of the liars and falsifiers and acolytes of false science. North American culprits were transported to Death Valley, California, and ISIS executioners were flown in to perform their service. The guilty had been hunted down and rounded up by the combined forces of the European-Islamic Police, of the Special Multi-Gender Law Enforcement Force, and of the American Federal Bureau of Intolerance (FBI) in coordinated raids and dragnets. Once the deniers were gone, all was made right in the world, and the world breathed easier.
·  To the resounding cheers and excellently choreographed Maypole dances of environmentalists of every age and color everywhere, the Environmental Protection Agency seized all private property and land in America and imposed rigorous controls on the former owners (now reduced to the status  of tenant farmers) governing the use of the new federal possessions. The rules were so all-encompassing and strict that the tenants were unable to produce or grow much of anything, but were blamed for dragging their feet. Trained, armed, and experienced former Bureau of Land Management personnel were empowered to police the land and to punish violators. Thousands of tenant farmers were incarcerated in special FEMA camps, called Spotted Owl Campuses, in Nevada and Illinois and put on short rations. These new felons were also subjected to reeducation courses and new dietary regimes. And all was made right with the world, and a New Earth Day was proclaimed.
·     President Bernie Sanders presided over the free distribution of just about everything, including college education, food, personal grooming products, and gas rations. His taxing of major and middle income corporations and small businesses at 99% was intended to pay for the program, but when IRS personnel appeared at these venues, in many instances they found nothing but closed doors or vacant premises. The Bureau of Printing and Engraving announced a “temporary” halt in printing all the new money because of shortages of the proper paper and of the necessary chemicals and inks, while the Treasury Department also announced a halt in the mailing of “Freedom Checks” to everyone because of a shortage of paper on which to print the checks. Suppliers of the currency and check paper to the BPE and the Treasury Department were sued. But President Sanders said the setbacks were just a “blip.” He was also quoted as saying, “You can't make an omelet without breaking heads.” One person was arrested and sentenced by a kangaroo court to twenty years of hard labor for having been overheard to say to a friend in private that President Sanders “not only needed a walker to get to the john but also for his brain.” Still, all was made right in the world and bad-mouthers were taken out of circulation, resulting in a significant drop in aural pollution.
·    The inauguration of the new  federal Multi-Gender Police (the MGP) was feted by former U.S. President Barack Obama during a special ceremony in Seattle. The new law enforcement tool was expected to work closely with the re-tailored FBI. The MGP’s ranks were filled with heterosexuals, homosexuals, lesbians, trans-genders, and people of unclassified orientation. True to Barack Obama’s anti-gun philosophy, the troops were armed with only tasers, electronic batons, modified cattle prods, and katanas. Cleverly designed uniforms, modeled after samurai fighting armor, disguised the gender identity of each policeperson. However, during its first assignment, the MGP retreated from a food riot in Philadelphia, resulting in half the city being burnt down, its spokesperson saying that sending the MGP into combat violated the “safe spaces” of many of its members who weren’t quite ready to impose law and order. It also claimed that many thousands of lives were saved by the MGP’s non-intervention in the looting, destruction, and occasional killing. Still, all was made right in the world, as there was no more police brutality.
·    English was demoted from being the official lingua franca of the U.S. Callers to various federal agencies, bureaus, and “crony” corporations were asked to “Press 1 for Arabic, Press 2 for Spanish, Press 3 for English.” Advertising and billboards (where they were permitted) had to communicate in Arabic and Spanish first, with tiny English subtitles. And all was made right in the world, and illiteracy was no longer a social stigma.
·         The Islamic State of America reached a detente with the Hispanic Speakers Alliance and Latino Lives Matter that would allow members of the three entities free and unharassed existence in addition to free movement to and from their particular spheres of influence. The truce was made necessary because it was expected that most Mexicans would refuse to submit to Islam or become Muslims (most of them being Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Baptists), and Muslims would refuse to become apostates, and a civil war was imminent. It was mutually agreed that violence could be visited only on whites and other infidels and non-Hispanics. And all was made right in the world, and everyone breathed easier, except for the disenfranchised.
·    White privilege was abolished under the guidance of Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, Black Lives Matter founders, with the guidance of Melissa Click, the former University of Missouri professor who accosted a student journalist. A federal law was passed compelling all whites to wear the letter “W” sewn on their clothing when in public. Jews were compelled to wear the letters” WJ” on their clothing when in public. Whites were compelled to defer rights of way to blacks on streets, restaurants, bars, laundromats, and in other public places. Blacks were permitted to “knock out” whites with impunity and without penalty. College history courses were stripped of all formal “white” history and replaced with black, Mexican, Islamic, and LGBT histories. Emulating the Saudi religious police, the Trayvon Martin Brigade was created and was given the responsibility of enforcing black privilege on whites, assisted by the MPG. White school children were required to learn “jive” and “blacklish,” while the speaking of Standard English was outlawed and violators were sentenced to 100 lashes with a whip or cane, whatever was handy. Whites were not permitted to assemble in groups larger than four. Classical music was banned, and also Elvis and Frank Sinatra. The MPG and FBI were tasked with rooting out white “samizdat” that circulated old classic texts and scheduled secret concerts, homeschooling, get-togethers, social gatherings, and lectures in basements. The Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor was dynamited, and replaced with a giant black tower that some said resembled a penis, but which was denied by its federally-funded sculptor. And all was made right in the world, and everyone breathed easier, because whiteness was now out of sight.
·     As in Islamic Europe, a vigorous drive was made to submerge “white” culture beneath the lead-weight of “polypolitical” culture, if not altogether obliterate it. Street names were changed to Arabic, Latino, or African names. Germany and Sweden were entirely defoliated of Germanic and Nordic character. “White” art was banished from public view, statues and paintings depicting whites were destroyed, and museums were denuded of all vestiges of “white” supremacy. Scandinavian, German, and French women were required to “cover up” per Islamic rules, and also to expose themselves to Turkish, Syrian, Somalian, and African “citizens” on request and to submit without protest to their desires (complaints earned such women who complained stiff fines and jail sentences). European males were required to wear abbreviated tutus to better identify them to the new “citizens” and were a not permitted to fight back when attacked without incurring automatic counter-charges of assault and intent to commit riot and bodily harm. And all was made right in the world, and no one was reminded of the oppressive past of Western cultural imperialism.
·    Israel was destroyed by two Iranian nuclear devices. Eager Palestinians rushed to “occupy” the areas that were once “occupied” by the Jewish state, although thousands of them died of radiation exposure when they marched into the wasteland and attempted to settle there. All Jewish males, regardless of age, in areas not affected by the nuclear bombs, were rounded up and executed; all Jewish women, regardless of age, were executed in separate camps. Attractive Jewish women and girls were selected to serve in special “comfort” centers for the Palestinian elite. Arabs who had cooperated with or were on good terms with Jews were identified and killed. Resistance to ethnic cleansing and slavery earned instant death. Clouds of radiation, however, wafted from the wastelands in shifting winds and caused millions of deaths and illnesses in Egypt, Jordan, Gaza, and Iran. Radiation was also detected in North Africa, felling or sickening thousands. Yet, all was right with the world, as the Little Satan was at last consigned to nuclear flames.

Not counting the eradication of diseases, inventing electricity, cars, etc.
·      The Internet was taken over by the federal government, as well as telephone and all other electronic means of personal communication, and run as regulated public services (when it was working). One could no longer in private conversation call Muslim women in America fat, ugly, and sweaty; one could no longer call Mexico’s culture second-rate; one could no longer aver that the libidos of LGBTs were in corrosive limbos, without being hauled into court and sentenced to five years hard labor for using offensive language and for offending the feelings of protected minorities (which were no longer numerical minorities, but now empowered ones). Informants were everywhere. The only individuals who could not be charged with racism, bigotry, discrimination, hate crimes, and other such crimes were Muslims, Latinos, and blacks. Only whites could commit hate crimes and hate speech. Whites were encouraged to feel shame for being white, and guilt for crimes committed by their ancestors hundreds of years before. This act of contrition resembled in action and in speech the Muslim shadada or expression of insignificance and submission, and was the brainstorm of Anjem Choudary, a British Islamic agitator and provocateur. It was modified from the traditional Muslim shadada for infidels to practice penance for even existing. And the world was made right, when infidels and unbelievers offered their necks to the sword…..  

Of course, you must realize that by the time all these and other conditions could be met, the world’s population would exist in a pronounced tatterdemalion state, all the things they were counting on having perished or been eliminated or been outlawed. The world would stand still and be left in a smoking ruin, with great masses staring into the void that their their social justice warriors, environmentalists, LGBT champions, diversity dilettantes, economic levelers and egalitarians, gender neuterers, and climate changers had created. All people would be left with is the chance to gnaw on bones, or on each other.

The world would be made right – according to the nihilists and to the gospel of Immanuel Kant.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Review: Dangerous Men

A friend sent me a library discard chiefly because she thought I would be interested in its cover of Clark Gable, for Dangerous Men: Pre-Code Hollywood and the Birth of the Modern Man, and the Birth of the Modern Man, by Mick LasSalle. The book was published in 2002, and is available now only on Kindle, although there are probably numerous scores of hard copies and paperbacks of it that can be had for a song from various Amazon associated vendors.

The cover is definitely interesting. The non-mustachioed Gable could very well be cast as Cyrus Skeen, the hero of my private detective series set in San Francisco between 1928 and 1930. The only thing missing from Gable’s arresting and commanding gaze is the lock of hair that often falls over Skeen’s brow and which his wife, Dilys, is forever flicking away. Skeen’s ears, however, would be a mite smaller.

One of the most memorable contrasts LaSalle marks is the on-screen rivalry between Gable and Leslie Howard, who both appeared in “Gone With the Wind” and “A Free Soul” (1931). Howard is steamrolled by Gable over a woman. But Gable “had a way of making any man in the vicinity look like he should be wearing a dress.” (p.65) One look at Gable, and you know he’s not “transgender” material. He’d more likely clean your clock if you ever questioned his virility or his identity as a man.

LaSalle’s book is also interesting in that it paints a picture of the changing status and character of male characters in Hollywood between 1929 and 1934, the Pre-Code era, after which the Hays Office of “voluntary” censorship put the kibosh on “immorality.” Will Hays and his mostly Catholic and Presbyterian allies put visual and vocal fig leaves on men and woman.  There is a political stance in LaSalle’s book but it is difficult to nail down; he implicitly endorses from the right, from the left, and from the middle, and he applauds every position imaginable, as well as the stances taken by the stars he discusses.

LaSalle reviews and critiques with lucid and often biting retrospect the careers of such memorable and forgotten Pre-Code stars as Lon Chaney, Ramon Navarro, Richard Barthelmess, Edward G. Robinson, Clark Gable, James Cagney, Robert Montgomery, John and Lionel Barrymore, Charles Laughton, Gary Cooper, Warren William, John Gilbert, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Sr., Lee Tracy, Paul Muni, and Fredric March.

But his principal position is stated about halfway into Dangerous Men:

More than anything else, the movies of the time emphasized the primacy of the individual and the importance of individual concerns, treating the government as a malign, or at best neutral force. Shady characters, sly operators, and fast-talking con men were often heroes, if for no other reason but that they were individualists making their way in the world. Meanwhile, anyone representing organized power, such as business or government, was part of the problem. That’s why private detectives were almost always good guys, while policemen were usually nuisances. (p. 106)

The onset of the Great Depression in 1929 helped to promote this narrative even on through World War II and in our own time. But the “individualism” of which LaSalle speaks has morphed into a mentally ill kind of narcissism highlighted by “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings.” These certainly had not been invented in 2002, when Dangerous Men was originally published. But try to imagine actors of the caliber, presence, and rough-and-ready style as Cagney, Robinson, Gable, or William whining about having their safe spaces violated or requiring trigger warnings before some actress began vamping them and showing them her legs. It would be too hilarious for words. The contrast would be so violent that it would send any contemporary social justice warrior into frothing, white-knuckled paroxyms of anger and outrage. Oh, the insensitivity!

How did the Production Code Administration, the enforcement arm of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPA), come about? Through a little judicious arm-twisting and the appeal to some “higher” moral standard – that is, the altruist, selfless brand.

…It was a result of the well-organized effort by a small cabal of lay Catholics, who, working within the church and the film industry, threatened the studios with a loss of Catholic business if certain demands weren’t met.

Caving into pressure, the studios appointed publicity man Joseph Breen as the first head of the Production Code Administration, a new organization empowered with the right to approve or deny the release of any studio film. As of July 1, 1934, Breen, a political reactionary and a raging anti-Semite, became the final arbiter of screen content. He kept the job for nearly two decades. (p. xii)

It didn’t hurt that Franklin D. Roosevelt took office in March 1933, with his promise to “remake” the country as a welfare state with a population of hound-dog faced dependents, in much the same manner as Barack Obama promised to “remake” the country in order to “transform” its political, economic, and demographics to something far more compatible with collectivism than FDR could ever have imagined.
“Dangerous” film censor Joseph Breen

Another contrast, La Salle writes, is in the difference between most of the silent films and the Pre-Code films. In Chapter 1, “Why Are These Men Smiling?” he notes that:

The smiles of the silent heroes suggested a whole attitude toward life, a confidence about the nature of heroism and the ultimate forces of good and evil. Silent heroes not only believed their victories were inevitable, but when they did win, they felt sure enough to gloat a little. They did not go through life expecting the ground to shift beneath their feet…. (p. 2)

But LaSalle prefaced that observation with:

In the Pre-Code era, we find new-fashioned heroes whose manhood was an authoritative force – not pretty boys, not cannon fodder, not pawns of the system, but dangerous men. Together, they represent a vision of manhood more exuberant and contentious, and at the same time more humane, than anything that has followed on the American screen. (p. xiii)

LaSalle dwells on the importance of “irony” in Pre-Code films, a “virtue” hardly lost in today’s film fare.

The great silent heroes of the twenties, stars such as Douglas Fairbanks, Rudolph Valentino, Ramon Novarro, and John Gilbert, were hardly sober men of affairs. They projected the modish virtues: youth, confidence, physical beauty, dynamism, and personality. What they…lack was irony. As historian Paul Fussell has asserted, irony was the great and defining legacy of World War I. That modern sense of irony, seeping into the culture as the twenties progressed, would ultimately make the silent hero and his radiantly unshakeable smile seem old-fashioned indeed. (p. 4)

Irony, in this cinematic context, I take LaSalle to mean that if the “hero” does not laugh at himself for being a “hero,” then the audience will laugh at him. Or take him with a grain of salt. Or the critics will. As a rule, critics have always laid on the internal and external irony super-thick, even when praising films they have liked.

Carole Lombard as Dilys Skeen
The dangerous men of the Pre-Code era, however, were not “heroes,” strictly speaking; they were thugs, gangsters, con men, cheats, a menagerie of ambiguous moralists, and a variety of Don Juans who treated women like discarded Kleenex and their victims as marks, patsies, and suckers. They were not of The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged caliber. In Western culture, true individualism had never found a voice until the novels of Ayn Rand. The Pre-Code “heroes,” however well they were played, were still the non-productive, essentially parasitical dross of society.

(Gary Cooper’s old-fashioned heroism was more suited to the Code era than to the Pre-Code era. He thrived in the late thirties, forties, and fifties, making many signature films, including “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town” [1936], “Meet John Doe” [1941], and “High Noon” [1952]. He died in 1961, at age sixty. P. 213)

Left out of this sampling of Cooper’s films are “The Fountainhead” (1949) and “For Whom the Bell Tolls” (1943).

Now that there is no enforceable Code, no powerful censor to play Bowdler to Breen’s latent prurience, the ground keeps shifting under the feet of our culture’s purported “heroes.” It’s deuces wild.  Anything goes. The Production Code was never truly enforced. It more or less lapsed into irrelevancy in the 1940’s, and the MPAA (the Motion Picture Association of America) formally abandoned the Code in 1966, replacing its bizarre guidelines with a wholly arbitrary “rating” system whose center of gravity seems to revolve around the definition of “mature.” 

However, I can see it now. Were some director to decide to produce Civic Affairs, and talked about the script with Clark Gable, Gable would laugh and say, “Hey. I like this scene. I get to kick this Breen character in the pants. That’ll be fun to shoot! Can we get Jimmy Stewart? And who’s playing Skeen’s wife? I could really work with Carole Lombard! She’s a lot of fun!”

Dangerous Men: Pre-Code Hollywood and the Birth of the Modern Man, by Mick LaSalle. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2002. 273 pp.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

How to Not Talk About Islam

Not mincing words in Boris Johnson's London
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, knows how to not talk about Islam.

Across the sea, Daniel Greenfield, Stephen Coughlin, and a few others not detached from reality, also know how to not talk about Islam.

Boris Johnson wants to find a new term for linking Islamic terrorism without mentioning Islam or Muslims. Or even terrorists or terrorism.

Daniel Greenfield et al. do not think you can discuss Islamic terrorism without mentioning Islam. If you talk about Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, you are talking about a cereal, and not about sushi or hummus. Finding a new term for Islamic terrorism isn’t necessary. The current term says it all.

Boris Johnson does not believe that Islamic “radicalization” has anything to do with Islam. “Radicalization” is a very real term to him, yet it has nothing to do with Islam. By what are British, American, and European Muslims being “radicalized”? The answer to this question is to Johnson as elusive as Peruvian guano dung. He tries several explanations but none of them rings true, for they all avoid “Islam” like the plague. It’s almost funny how finicky he is when trying to solve a problem by evading the simplest answers.

The title of this column lends itself, at Boris Johnson’s expense, to an old Monty Python skit, “How not to be seen.” Or, how not to be heard or seen speaking of Islam in any but praiseworthy and respective language. Language that deprecates or indicts Islam is out of the question. In Britain, it probably isn’t even legal.

Boris Johnson about a year ago, in a June 28th Telegraph article, “Islamic State? This death cult is not a state and it’s certainly not Islamic,” tackled the conundrum with a subheading, “We must settle on a name for our enemies that doesn’t smear all Muslims but does reflect reality.” To Johnson, ISIS, or ISIL, is merely a “death cult” and has no relation to Islam. It isn’t fair to Islam or to Muslims, he says, to characterize Islamic terrorism as something performed exclusively by hooded Muslims who usually quote Koranic verses while broadcasting their latest beheading, stoning, or hurling of a gay from a rooftop. Johnson writes:

If we are going to defeat our enemies we have to know who they are. We have to know what to call them. We must at least settle on a name – a terminology – with which we can all agree. And the trouble with the fight against Islamic terror is that we are increasingly grappling with language, and with what it is permissible or sensible to say.

Johnson first concedes that it is Islamic terrorism that is the “enemy.” However, to call it “Islamic terror” is an unjustified exercise of “profiling.” And in Britain, no longer a bastion of freedom of speech, profiling Muslims and connecting them with Islamic terrorism is no longer permissible.

But what are the objectives of this terrorism? Is it religious? Is it political? Is it a toxic mixture of the two? And what exactly is its relationship with Islam? Many thoughtful Muslims are now attempting – understandably – to decouple their religion from any association with violence of this kind.

Many “thoughtful Muslims,” however, are performing incredible mental and linguistic contortions to dissociate or “decouple” Islam from terrorism. The contortions are but exercises in taqiyya, as detailed in Stephen Coughlin’s Catastrophic Failure: The Blindfolding of America in the Face of Jihad. This important work was partly reviewed in January in “ Interfaith Bridges to Islam” on Rule of Reason. 

Johnson writes:

…They are not running a state, and their gangster organization is not Islamic – it is a narcissistic death cult….

Yes, ISIS employs thugs, killers, sadists, rapists, gangsters, and other homicidal creatures who to a man hope to gain admittance to “Paradise” and 72 virgins by submitting wholeheartedly to Islam and Allah’s will. Yes, ISIS is a state. It has a government, of sorts, a currency, of sorts, and it works ceaselessly to preserve itself as a state. It’s called the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. The term “State” is not accidental. It does not call itself the Islamic Club, the Islamic Fellowship, or even the Islamic Brotherhood. ISIS’s main goal is to establish a caliphate in as much territory as it can conquer.

Rehman’s point is that if you call it Islamic State you are playing their game; you are dignifying their criminal and barbaric behavior; you are giving them a propaganda boost that they don’t deserve, especially in the eyes of some impressionable young Muslims. He wants us all to drop the terms, in favor of more derogatory names such as “Daesh” or “Faesh”, and his point deserves a wider hearing.

But then there are others who would go much further, and strip out any reference to the words “Muslim” or “Islam” in the discussion of this kind of terrorism – and here I am afraid I disagree. I can well understand why so many Muslims feel this way. Whatever we may think of the “truth” of any religion, there are billions of people for whom faith is a wonderful thing: a consolation, an inspiration – part of their identity.

 The Islamic Anthill, at the Kaaba, Mecca
And we mustn’t leave them in a state of disconsolation. Somehow, calling killers killers is “playing into their game,” and “dignifying their criminal and barbaric behavior.” We are, Johnson implies, granting Islamic terrorists some sort of legitimacy related to their “hijacking” Islam to better satisfy their homicidal lusts. But Islam is an ideology that sanctions whatever homicidal lusts may motivate the killers. It is they who are dignifying their crimes. Boris Johnson then shakes his head in resignation.

…Why do we seem to taint a whole religion by association with a violent minority?
Well, I am afraid there are two broad reasons why some such association is inevitable. The first is a simple point of language, and the need to use terms that everyone can readily grasp. It is very difficult to bleach out all reference to Islam or Muslim from discussion of this kind of terror, because we have to pinpoint what we are actually talking about. It turns out that there is virtually no word to describe an Islamically-inspired terrorist that is not in some way prejudicial, at least to Muslim ears.

We must have a name, a term, one which identifies the killers. Unfortunately, the overwhelming number of killers are Muslims acting in the name of Islam, whether they’re “soldiers” of Allah in the fields of ISIS or bombing Paris or Brussels Airport. “A” cannot be “A” because too many people are in the “A” category, and resent being so labeled. We must somehow render “A” a non-“A.”
Johnson then wonders how he can have Aristotle and eat him, too.

If we purge our vocabulary of any reference to the specifically religious associations of the problem, then we are not only ignoring the claims of the terrorists themselves (which might be reasonable), but the giant fact that there is a struggle going on now for the future of Islam, and how it can adapt to the 21st century. The terrorism we are seeing across the Muslim world is partly a function of that struggle, and of the chronic failure of much Islamic thinking to distinguish between politics and religion.

He will not, in the end, admit that Islam by its nature does not distinguish between politics and religion. It does not separate church and state or mosque and state. They are one and the same. Ask any ISIS killer, or any mild-mannered imam, or any humble mullah. They will tell you the same thing in so many words.

Daniel Greenfield in his April 20th Sultan Knish column, “The Fallacy of Focusing on Islamic Radicalization,” is an antidote to Johnson’s agonizing folderol.  

Radicalization programs, under euphemisms such as CVE or Countering Violent Extremism, assume that Islamic terrorism can be countered by forming a partnership with Muslim groups and social services agencies. While the West will ease Muslim dissatisfaction by providing jobs and boosting their self-esteem to make them feel like they belong, the Muslim groups will tackle the touchy issue of Islam.

These partnerships achieve nothing because social services don’t prevent Islamic terrorism; they enable and fund the very no-go zones and dole-seeker lifestyles that are a gateway to the Jihad. Meanwhile the Muslim partners are inevitably Islamists looking to pick up potential recruits for their own terror agendas. Western countries fund terrorism to fight terrorism and then partner with still more terrorists to train their homegrown terrorists not to be terrorists, or at least not the wrong kind of terrorists. This is what happens when the “Islam” part of Islamic terrorism is ignored and outsourced to any Islamist who can pretend to be moderate in front of a television camera for 5 minutes at a time.

None of this actually stops Islamic terrorism. Instead it empowers and encourages it.

In other language, CVE prefers squaring the root of pi over naming Islam. Pi is Islamic “radicalization.” It can have an infinite number of explanations for Muslims being “radicalized” stretching from Earth to the Dark Horse Nebula and beyond. The answers, however, always without exception default back to Islam.

But Islam is a whole number. It can’t be squared. Squaring it only leaves one with “one.” Put another way, you can treat Islam as a pot of sea water. You can boil the water away, and leave the salt behind. The violent verses of the Koran especially are the salt in Islam. It’s the violent verses of the Koran on which the killers act.

Language, for Johnson, is the key culprit. It must be sanitized somehow to both identify the Islamic baddies and also to deny they have a lot to do with the Islam that so many blameless Friday-Go-Mosque Muslims adhere to. Language must conform to wishful thinking or delusions. It must never, never be anchored to reality. That would be “radicalization” and we want none of that. 

Johnson gives an exquisite demonstration of how to not talk about Islam, while at the same time talking about it. Quite a feat of  Saussurean semiotics.