Kevin D. Williamson's "Tuesday" column speaks out
Against Presidential Idolatry.
(The eye candy du jour was an obvious pick.)
As you may know, I have an interest in the American presidency as a cult and in the president as an object of idolatry. I am writing a book about the subject. So I was amused when Donald Trump’s perfervid votaries at that ghastly clown show down in Orlando actually went so far as to set up a golden idol of the man for public veneration — I’m starting to feel like they are trolling me personally, but it’ll be a funny footnote in the book.
Of course, the Trump idol was fake gold, and it was made in Mexico — which is to say, it was only four bankruptcy proceedings away from being the Trumpiest thing imaginable. When the alien archeologists sift through the ruins of our civilization at some time in the future, I hope they discover the golden Trump idol, which may help them to understand where we went wrong as a species.
Trump presents himself as an outsider, but, in truth, he always fit in pretty well in Washington, D.C., a city that is packed to the rafters with elderly mediocrities who had rich parents. Trump’s godlike conception of the presidency is bipartisan Washington orthodoxy, and his nationalist/neo-mercantilist views are a lot more like Joe Biden’s than anybody in either camp would care to admit.
I hope Senator Sasse wasn't too optimistic when he asserted that "Most Nebraskans don't think politics should be about the weird worship of one dude." I hope that's true of Americans of either party.
Bret Stephens seems to be trying to get fired from his gig at the New York Times His latest:
Smith College and the Failing Liberal Bargain. He lays out the sad history of false career-wrecking accusations of
"racism" at Smith. This resulted in mandatory "anti-bias" training for staff and (honest) racially segregated
dorms for BIPOC students. But:
As for the anti-bias training, Powell reports that cafeteria and grounds workers “found themselves being asked by consultants hired by Smith about their childhood and family assumptions about race, which many viewed as psychologically intrusive.” One courageous school administrator, Jodi Shaw, resigned from Smith in February on the grounds that it had become a “racially hostile environment.”
Some of us who have undergone increasingly fashionable “unconscious bias” training sessions understand what Shaw means: In their sugary tone and invidious assumptions, they can feel like a Cultural Revolution struggle session led by a preschool teacher.
I don't usually like psychologizing on what makes people act the way they do. It seems unavoidable here.
I was never much of a Dr. Seuss fan. (As I recall, I mostly taught myself to read and went straight to Heinlein.)
But the straight white male is safely dead, and as Robby Soave reports:
Dr. Seuss Is Canceled.
The cancel culture bells have tolled for Dr. Seuss, the beloved author of children's books like Green Eggs and Ham, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Oh, the Places You'll Go.
President Biden declined to mention Dr. Seuss, the pen name of Theodor Seuss Geisel, in his kickoff speech for Read Across America Day, a national event that promotes literacy and is historically connected with Dr. Seuss. (It even takes place on the author's birthday.)
While the Biden administration got the #DrSeussIsOverParty started, it's Seuss' own publisher who's really taking things to the next level. Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced that it would cease printing six books that contain vaguely racist imagery: And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, McElligot's Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, If I Ran the Zoo, Scrambled Eggs Super!, and The Cat's Quizzer.
And perhaps one of the more predictable sentences Robby will write this year:
The books are currently unavailable on Amazon.
Where can we go for sanity, and
an amused look at the wacky wokefulness
that goes along with another cancellation? Ah, James Lileks.
Anyway. Seuss. The responses went along the usual lines: "lol at conservatives who hate books and love capitalism getting mad about a private company deciding something." This is the stance of someone who values ferreting out what they perceive to be hypocrisy above all other issues, because it is necessary for the person who believes in nothing to insist that no one else does either. They just lie for gain. Most of the comments came from people who, in a previous decade, would have been passionate about Speech and the Press and constraining unpopular ideas, and now have aligned themselves to worship a new star.
Some might even have straddled the old era and the new. I wonder if they feel additionally virtuous because the old concerns were tired and nebulous, and the new ones are exciting and specific. It was difficult to muster a lot of energy to oppose Tipper Gore's Anti-Fun Music crusade. Mostly people cast snark. This, though - this is different. It's transformative! It's easy to get on the right side of history here; just denounce what the proper people are denouncing. And with a little work you, too might find a statue worth pulling down.
James's "Wednesday Review of Modern Thought" is a regular feature. Just coincidence that so much Modern Thought was around for him to analyze today.
But if you're up for a challenge, the Babylon Bee has constructed one:
Can You Find All 17 Instances Of Racism On This Page From A Dr. Seuss Book?. Spoilerish hint:
14. The name of the book is Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!, which implies that thinking for yourself about race is good. First, kids will be reading Dr. Seuss books, the next thing you know, they'll be watching Jordan Peterson videos.
I am hopeful that Michael Ramirez will get a great cartoon out of this. It will be an automatic Eye Candy.