John Derbyshire's Public, Total, And Irreversible Loss
Of Bowel And Bladder Control
(This, from April 2012; "Same As It Ever Was")
John Derbyshire, a conservative pundit and gadfly at the National Review (originally founded by William F. Buckley, and later run by unindicted war criminals), author of several books, including We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism, provided us with a spectacle last week: Virtually dousing himself with gasoline and lighting a fantasy match, via this post at the Takimag website: "The Talk: Nonblack Version".
Apparently, John-Boy had read several articles that referenced a "talk" which at least some Black parents purportedly have with their children about living in a society dominated by non-African Americans (I've preserved some of the links to them from Derbyshire's original below):
[Derbyshire quotes:]“Sean O’Reilly was 16 when his mother gave him the talk that most black parents give their teenage sons,” Denisa R. Superville of the Hackensack (NJ) Record tells us. Meanwhile, down in Atlanta: “Her sons were 12 and 8 when Marlyn Tillman realized it was time for her to have the talk,” Gracie Bonds Staples writes in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.Herr Derbyshire said, to paraphrase, Blacks are generally less intelligent than Caucasians or Asians, whom Blacks simply lump together as "white"; are more likely to be undeservedly promoted into management positions in the workplace; and are prone to violent behavior against "whites", if only on the basis of statistics. All this, and more like it, is what he tells his own children.
Leonard Greene talks about the talk in the New York Post. Someone bylined as KJ Dell’Antonia talks about the talk in The New York Times. Darryl Owens talks about the talk in the Orlando Sentinel.
Yes, talk about the talk is all over.
There is a talk that nonblack Americans have with their kids, too. My own kids, now 19 and 16, have had it in bits and pieces as subtopics have arisen. If I were to assemble it into a single talk, it would look something like the following...
He tells this to his children. And where, pray, do people like him believe that racism comes from? Not only in the images and attitudes children unconsciously absorb from the world around them -- but because someone teaches them.
It's What They Do
Some pundits with a large soapbox to stand on, or their own site -- precisely because they publish lies and drivel, and use the Net to sling their own feces beyond their cages -- deserve to be ignored, vilified; to have their IP addresses blocked and sent to dwell in the land of Little Rupert, East of Podhoretz, with the crying, and the wailing, and the gnashing of mandibles (and the hey hey hey, as Professor Frink might tell us).
A few obvious examples of public masturbation are Drudge, Malkin; Goldberg, Erikson; and Breitbart (a Grand Public Masterdebater); but it's a long list. Thinking human beings recoil from the junk that spills out of their addled minds and into the rinse-cycle whirl of the Intertubes (Or, we laugh our asses off. Or both). They deserve our contempt, and receive it -- but they won't leave. They won't perform a swan song -- a GBCW! post: Good-Bye, Cruel World!.
However, the GBCW doesn't tend to happen in Right Blogostan, where the operative principle is to lie, and outrageously. As (for example) Breitbart and O'Keefe have shown us, don't just strain credulity, piss on it. And, Right bloggers have automatic support among a large community, willing to swallow every wingnut, asshat, echo-chamber fantasy of the moment.
Because, you see, the Right must stand in solidarity. They see a hostile world, dominated by elite Liberals and their Media; Jews; non-white people; and the undeserving poor and undocumented aliens, all supported by the taxes of honest working Americans (Also, there are giant radioactive scorpions being trained by the UN to bring about a one-world government headed by George Soros).
So You Wanna Be One Of The Kool Kidz
Sometimes, the GBCW is purely voluntary. At some level, the Blogosphere -- Left or Right -- mimics high school. Bloggers and regular commentors tend to affiliate, and like any other association of humans can be exclusionary. On occasion someone appears whose style in posting comments is grating, awkward. They insist on being right, on dominating a thread; they just don't express ideas well. They may be off-topic, and are thin-skinned when teased -- as they will be (humans are humans, and anonymous ones even more so).
Usually, these people have a blog of their own. They want to be one of the Kool Kidz, too, and have lots of site traffic -- to be popular. To "be someone". The problem is, they already are someone, and that they've confused the raison d'etre of their blog, or commenting on someone else's post, with wanting to appear on something like the old Gong Show.
So, when no one reads their amazingly important, detailed, lengthy blog posts; and they're ignored when adding to threads on other sites... finally, they may write that GBCW post, clomping off the Internet stage with a final, long soliloquy explaining ad nauseum why they are right and the rest of the world is wrong, wrong, wrong; and also, bad. If they are religious, they may hint darkly that god (somebody's god, anyway) will punish everyone for not eagerly lapping up their vomit.
(For some reason, I'm reminded of R. Crumb's Everyman character, Flakey Foont, constantly looking to Mister Natural for enlightenment, befuddled; angry at his mistreatment in life. In one final panel, Foont weeps as, in a thought bubble, he imagines his tombstone's epitaph: Here Lies Flakey Foont / A Beautiful Soul / Crushed By An Uncaring World..)
Then, there's the other category of GBCW, almost unique to the Right, where a Rightist pundit's mask slips and the true reptilian horror is shown for all to see and wonder at. This sort of thing happens all the time -- you can't get through a week without a Rightist politician, or self-proclaimed pundit like Lard Boy, saying something insulting or incendiary.
So, when a wingnut pundit like Derbyshire can't maintain the Right's cherished fiction of bipartisan cooperation, or that they believe non-white persons are their equals, for anyone on the Right to take notice their outburst has to cross a line that is damaging for conservatism in general -- particularly in an election year.
A recent example: Lard Boy's public ridicule of a young woman as a slut and a prostitute, over her appearance before Congress on the subject of contraception. After enough heavy-hitters on the Right strongly hinted he'd stepped over a line, El Fathead reluctantly made a self-justifying half-apology -- as good as you'll get from a pathetic bully like Rush.
Trent Lott Flies The Bonny Blue Flag
But an example more to the point is then-Senator Trent Lott's fulsome praise of Strom Thurmond at his 100th birthday party in 2002: "When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him," Said Trent. "We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over the years, either".
Thurmond had run for president in 1948 as a 'Dixiecrat', expousing what Wikipedia notes as "an explicit States' Rights platform that challenged the Civil Rights Movement and later, the Civil Rights Act as illegally overturning the Separation of powers under the United States Constitution." In other words, Antebellum 'Southern values'.
In the appropriate storm of criticism that followed, Lott was forced to resign as Majority Leader of the Senate in 2003, and blamed
Missy Laura Talks To The Nation
On August 10, 2010, Laura Schlessenger, right-wing radio commentator "Doctor Laura", had an exchange with a Black woman who had called in to her syndicated program to speak about a personal issue: Occasional racial slurs her husband (who is Caucasian) and his friends would make in front of her.
CALLER: I'm having an issue with my husband where I'm starting to grow very resentful of him. I'm black, and he's white. We've been around some of his friends and family members who start making racist comments as if I'm not there or if I'm not black. And my husband ignores those comments, and it hurts my feelings. And he acts like --It continued in the same vein after "Doctor Laura" returned. "Yeah," Frau Schlessenger said; "We've got a black man as president, and we have more complaining about racism than ever. I mean, I think that's hilarious". When the caller disagreed, the good doctor responded, "[You've] got a chip on your shoulder. Can't do much about that."
SCHLESSINGER: Well, can you give me an example of a racist comment? 'Cause sometimes people are hypersensitive. So tell me what's -- give me two good examples of racist comments.
CALLER: OK. Last night -- good example -- we had a neighbor come over, and this neighbor -- when every time he comes over, it's always a black comment. It's, "Oh, well, how do you black people like doing this?" And, "Do black people really like doing that?" And for a long time, I would ignore it. But last night, I got to the point where it --
SCHLESSINGER: I don't think that's racist.
CALLER: Well, the stereotype --
SCHLESSINGER: I don't think that's racist. No, I think that --
SCHLESSINGER: No, no, no. I think that's -- well, listen, without giving much thought, a lot of blacks voted for Obama simply 'cause he was half-black. Didn't matter what he was gonna do in office, it was a black thing. You gotta know that. That's not a surprise. Not everything that somebody says -- we had friends over the other day; we got about 35 people here -- the guys who were gonna start playing basketball. I was going to go out and play basketball. My bodyguard and my dear friend is a black man. And I said, "White men can't jump; I want you on my team." That was racist? That was funny.
CALLER: How about the N-word? So, the N-word's been thrown around --
SCHLESSINGER: Black guys use it all the time. Turn on HBO, listen to a black comic, and all you hear is n----r, n----r, n----r.
CALLER: That isn't --
SCHLESSINGER: I don't get it. If anybody without enough melanin says it, it's a horrible thing; but when black people say it, it's affectionate. It's very confusing. Don't hang up, I want to talk to you some more. Don't go away.
I'm Dr. Laura Schlessinger. I'll be right back.
Frau Schlessenger spent much of the next week trying to defend herself on air, and on August 17, announced on Larry King Live that she was leaving commercial AM radio, moving to subscription-only Sirrus to continue her special brand of joy without "some special interest group deciding this is a time to silence a voice of dissent."
Old School Dog-Whistle
Derbyshire is originally British, a naturalized American citizen; well-educated; his wife is Asian, and his sons are mixed-race Amerasians. You'd think he knew exactlywhat was about to happen as he clicked "Send" to upload his article to 'Takimag', and it did: The National Review terminated Derbyshire; the NROnline's editor, Rich Lowry, posted:
[Derbyshire's] latest provocation, in a webzine, lurches from the politically incorrect to the nasty and indefensible. We never would have published it, but the main reason that people noticed it is that it is by a National Review writer. Derb is effectively using our name to get more oxygen for views with which we’d never associate ourselves otherwise. So there has to be a parting of the ways.(I so like Lowry's use of the nickname, "Derb"; it smacks of Groton or Andover, of lacrosse or crew at Yale. Just kind of tone the NR likes to have amongst its own; so "Our Crowd".)
I don't agree with Lowry that Derbyshire's views are such that the NR "would never associate ourselves otherwise". I believe the Right perpetuates racist perspectives, the common assumptions that Derbyshire is so willing to teach his children -- but assumptions only admitted to quietly, between the "right sort" of people.
One Cardinal rule of the wingnut tribe is not to embarrass the Right by admitting to its true shared values, particularly about how icky Blacks and The Poor are (they're so -- well, so Black, and so poor). Derbyshire's irretrievable sin was to say so, openly and in public.
But in calling him 'Derb' (both affectionate and dismissive at once), Lowry showed he didn't repudiate an old friend and member of his class; only that he was uncomfortable with Derb's statements. Lowry will meet Ol' Derb, buy him a drink and say, "What were you thinking, Derb? I mean, we all know about 'Those People'; but you had to go and say it. I had to cut you from the NR; you didn't really give me a choice, old man."
(Think this is a stretch? Possibly. But I doubt it.)
The Right is eager to play the race card with a sitting Black President, but they have to do it through innuendo, metaphors, verbal allusions. I understand that I'm offering no examples, but I believe Lowry and people like him on the Right tacitly support Derbyshire's "views" concerning the comparative intelligence, aggression and "otherness" of Blacks in America. And, so they can't be accused of overt racism, they'll just make oblique references. They'll use the dog whistle.
Race is an issue in America. There's been a tremendous amount of racist garbage, blog posts and comments, crudely-drawn cartoons, aimed not at Obama's policies but at his race (One of the first comments I heard after the 2008 election from someone at work was, "Guess we can't call it the 'White House' anymore!").
And Right blogostan has never stopped baying about the 'conspiracy' around the legitimacy of his birth certificate. Breitbart's last super-secret, stop-the-presses video was about Obama giving someone a hug -- proof of his radicalism, that he is (hint, hint) a Black man first and an American second.
You can barely hear the National Anthem any longer for all the dog-whistling on the Right that's been going on since 2008. And none of the Good Ole Boys repudiates it; I see Sessions, Haley Barbour, and Saxby Chambliss (who crawled into office by calling a triple-amputee Vietnam veteran a traitor) whining on television and want to puke. People like this are a shame on my country.
We're a badly polarized society -- possibly more so than at any time since The Great Depression, certainly since 1965 -- and at a time when we can least afford to be so divided. Asshats like Derbyshire (aber natürlich, only for the purest of reasons) have pushed and escalated our society's divisions and put us at each others' throats. They'd like to keep us there.
Race is an issue in America. Electing Barack Obama as president didn't solve it. I'm not happy with Obama as a president, or a Democrat -- but it would never cross my mind to believe his public policies or decision-making are the product of his being Black.
The Right, on the other hand, seems to think that is the case -- and while Derbyshire will be publicly repudiated by conservatives for his remarks, many of those same people on the Right will attempt to perform a quiet, virtual lynching as they attempt to 'save' America from ... the Justice in Equality, I guess.
Auf Nicht Wiedersehen, Derbyshire, you Lumpenhund nutter.
( * "Kulturschande" Is more than just bringing shame upon one's culture, because the concept in German of Kultur encompasses much more than that. But, trust me; it's pejorative.)
NOTE: Offered without comment, per Wikipedia: "In early 2012, [Derbyshire] underwent treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukemia."