URLs du Jour


It's (partially) "white fragility" day here at Pun Salad, and today's Getty Image is the top result when you search for those words.

But for something so darn fragile, dandelions have a tenacious grip on some corners of my lawn where nothing else grows.

  • John McWhorter, apparently not yet fired by the Atlantic, looks at Robin DiAnglo's book: The Dehumanizing Condescension of White Fragility.

    DiAngelo has spent a very long time conducting diversity seminars in which whites, exposed to her catechism, regularly tell her—many while crying, yelling, or storming toward the exit—that she’s insulting them and being reductionist. Yet none of this seems to have led her to look inward. Rather, she sees herself as the bearer of an exalted wisdom that these objectors fail to perceive, blinded by their inner racism. DiAngelo is less a coach than a proselytizer.

    When writers who are this sure of their convictions turn out to make a compelling case, it is genuinely exciting. This is sadly not one of those times, even though white guilt and politesse have apparently distracted many readers from the book’s numerous obvious flaws.

    For one, DiAngelo’s book is replete with claims that are either plain wrong or bizarrely disconnected from reality. Exactly who comes away from the saga of Jackie Robinson thinking he was the first Black baseball player good enough to compete with whites? “Imagine if instead the story,” DiAngelo writes, “went something like this: ‘Jackie Robinson, the first black man whites allowed to play major-league baseball.’” But no one need imagine this scenario, as others have pointed out, because it is something every baseball fan already knows. Later in the book, DiAngelo insinuates that, when white women cry upon being called racists, Black people are reminded of white women crying as they lied about being raped by Black men eons ago. But how would she know? Where is the evidence for this presumptuous claim?

    White Fragility, let me remind you, is on the official list of "Racial Justice Resources" at the University Near Here. Nobody told them that it, in McWhorter's words, "entails an elaborate and pitilessly dehumanizing condescension toward Black people. "

  • At National Review, Kyle Smith is even more pitiless toward Robin DiAngelo & Anti-Racism Charlatans.

    You, there. Yes, you, white person. Ever attended a wedding at which only white people were present? How about an all-white funeral? Ever watched as a black person mopped the floor? You, I’m afraid, are racist.

    Lists of billionaires? Racist. Lists of top-grossing movies? Racist. Unselected Jeopardy categories? Racist. Today’s successor to the Ludovico technique has been ingeniously engineered by the White Fragility author, and America’s Race Whisperer, Robin DiAngelo. DiAngelo is a white lady who has gotten very, very rich speaking to litigation-averse corporations, campus groups, self-flagellating white progressives, and black allies joining the cause of white guilt, which is apparently like the rain in Blade Runner, a mephitic poison that is forever soaking everyone to the bone.

    I am illiterate enough so that I had to Google "Ludovico technique".

  • And Ann Althouse wonders: What is the science behind the "white fragility" ideology that people are being pressured to internalize and not question?. Ann looks at an NYT Magazine artucke that seems to say: not much. She quotes:

    If the aim is to dismantle white supremacy, to redistribute power and influence... do the messages of today’s antiracism training risk undermining the goal by depicting an overwhelmingly rigged society in which white people control nearly all the outcomes, by inculcating the idea that the traditional skills needed to succeed in school and in the upper levels of the workplace are somehow inherently white, by spreading the notion that teachers shouldn’t expect traditional skills as much from their Black students, by unwittingly teaching white people that Black people require allowances, warrant extraordinary empathy and can’t really shape their own destinies?

    That's a long sentence with a question mark at the end. I know which way I'd bet.

  • But enough fragility! The Free Beacon looks at a different book: University's Anti-Bigotry Reading List Includes Book That Equates Conservatism With Racism.

    George Washington University is urging students to read Conservatism and Racism, and Why in America They Are the Same in an effort to educate them about the dangers of stereotypes and discrimination.

    The "Solidarity Resource Syllabus" released by the Washington, D.C.-based school's Office of Diversity provides students with a reading list that focuses on racism in the United States. Among the 126 books that the university says "actively and effectively … [combat] injustice" is San Francisco State University professor Robert Smith's 2010 book that equates conservative beliefs with bigotry. That label applies to all who subscribe to right-leaning beliefs, including people of color.

    Amazon link to the Kindle version ($18.33). Or a mere $33.95 for the paperback, $95 for hardcolver. In any case, a small price to pay to have some guy tell me I'm a racist, right?

  • I detect a tinge of sarcasm in the headline to Nick Gillespie's Reason article: How Non-Existent Cancel Culture Works at Princeton and Elsewhere.

    Last week in Quillette, a Princeton Classics professor, Joshua T. Katz, published an article criticizing a letter signed by some of his institution's professors "to block the mechanisms that have allowed systemic racism to work, visibly and invisibly, in Princeton's operations." The faculty letter insisted that "Anti-Blackness is foundational to America" and that it was "rampant" even at progressive institutions such as the school formerly known as the College of New Jersey. The letter articulated a long list of demands regarding the recruitment and retention of people of color as faculty members and students and even called for the creation of

    a committee composed entirely of faculty that would oversee the investigation and discipline of racist behaviors, incidents, research, and publication on the part of faculty, following a protocol for grievance and appeal to be spelled out in Rules and Procedures of the Faculty. Guidelines on what counts as racist behavior, incidents, research, and publication will be authored by a faculty committee for incorporation into the same set of rules and procedures.

    In the Quillette article, Katz agreed with some of the letter's action items but said that the above "scares me more than anything else: For colleagues to police one another's research and publications in this way would be outrageous." On its face, the call to investigate and discipline research and publications of other faculty is a complete refutation of academic freedom.

    And since "cancel culture" doesn't exist, Princeton's administration, faculty, and students welcomed Katz's dissent from the prevailing campus orthodoxy.

    Kidding! Princeton's president, Christopher Eisgruber, took to the media to castigate Katz. And a university spokesmodel said that the administration "will be looking into the matter further." Uh oh.

    Katz will probably survive. But the broader point is to make sure no other Princeton people get any funny ideas about expressing ideas the local Maoists might find irritating.

  • And Matthew Hoy is a very infrequent blogger these days, but recent Media Fact-Checking Failures pushed him to pound the keyboard.

    Two Sundays ago, Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union,” and, like much of the media, lied about President Trump’s July 3 Speech at Mount Rushmore.

    The Illinois Democrat told CNN’s “State of the Union” that the president’s Friday speech in South Dakota “spent more time worried about honoring dead Confederates” than discussing the number of Americans who died from COVID-19.

    “I mean his priorities are all wrong here,” she said. “He should be talking about what we’re gonna do to overcome this pandemic. What are we going to do to push Russia back?”

    “Instead, he had no time for that,” she added. “He spent all his time talking about dead traitors.”

    You can read a transcript of Trump’s speech here. There is nary a mention of a single “dead Confederate” anywhere in the speech.

    The MSM dissects and nitpicks Trump's statements to death. Fish, barrel, gun, right? But Matthew tried and failed to find a single MSM "fact-checker" that bothered to characterize Senator Tammy's tirade as reality-impaired.

The Good Cop

[Amazon Link]
(paid link)

This is another book off WSJ reviewer Tom Nolan's Best Mystery Books of 2019 list. Seven down, three to go!

There's not much whodunit content. It is (mostly) set in Germany between the World Wars, in Munich where the Nazi Party is surging in power and influence. So when a terrorist crime is committed, who did it? Duh, dude: the Nazis.

The titular Good Cop is Willi Geismeier, an unkempt police detective in Munich. He's an excellent case-clearer, with good instincts and a dogged pursuer of the truth. Unfortunately, this doesn't endear him to his corrupt and lazy superiors. Nor does it portend well that the Nazis are infiltrating the police department, rewarding their friends, covering up the truth. As Tom Nolan says, Willi is forced to "play a long game with history".

It's a pretty good page-turner, but I'm beginning to think that Tom Nolan's "Best" list is politically influenced. In addition to Willi's story, the true-history of Hitler's efforts are described in detail. Few people these days are Hitler fans, but the book is pretty heavy-handed in drawing Trumpian parallels. Hitler apparently promised to "make Germany great again" and if you missed the author's first reference to that, there are at least a couple more.

Basically, Trump-is-Hitler believers will nod in recognition to such dog whistles. Others will sigh and move on. At least there were no references to the insidious Nazi-sympathetic radio stations, known as Das Fuchs Netzwerk.

Speaking of dogs… The author, Peter Steiner, is (probably) more widely known as a New Yorker cartoonist, and People of a Certain Age may well remember his most famous cartoon from 1993:

Internet dog.jpg
By Source, Fair use, Link

I believe just about every geek's door and bulletin board at the University Near Here had a copy of that cartoon.

Last Modified 2024-01-23 2:06 PM EDT