Stop and think,  collected — 2019

Note. Because of changes in the archive pages, over time, you may find that some of the links you hit to other "Stop and think" installments actually lead nowhere. If you encounter frustration with a particular link, please feel free to hold my feet to the fire. — Nicholas Strakon

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Reader responses

Current installment, continued.

Minitrue talking heads, understandably outraged at such effrontery, helpfully interviewed Mr. Phillips about the incident. Phillips told them that the kids were taunting a group of four noble Black Israelites, and he began to chant and bang the drum to prevent the "mob" of "hundreds" of kids from "tearing apart" the innocent black men. Also understandably, the talking heads neglected to seek the other side of the story from the kids in question, because, well, they're white Catholic Trump supporters who, to top it off, had been participating in a huge March for Life anti-abortion rally. I mean, obviously they're racist scum, so why bother? Especially when they were confronting a noble Native American war veteran elder indigenous rights activist, and four noble African American religious men who, according to the Minitrue story, were "singing hymns."

In the uproar that ensued, celebrities called for the heads of the guilty kids, left-wing activists attempted to reveal their identities and addresses, others called for them to be physically attacked, and the kids' own Catholic diocese condemned them and threatened expulsion, apparently without first investigating the matter.

Unfortunately, further video evidence surfaced that threw the incident in a different light. It turned out that the noble African American religious men were members of a weird sect known for provocative behavior, and that they had been shouting scurrilous taunts at the kids and everybody else in sight for over an hour as the kids waited for a bus to come and pick them up. Not only that, but Phillips walked over to the teenagers and apparently did his best to provoke an incident with them, only for them to do nothing much at all except act like kids. The entire narrative pushed by our informal Ministry of Truth was a lie, and the carelessness and bigotry of Minitrue and the Establishment were on display for all to see. This is yet another example of how the Internet needs regulation and oversight by wise monitors to prevent crimethink from disrupting the official narrative.

Dense fog over the Atlantic

But don't worry! Ian Bogost at the Atlantic magazine has taken a look at the new evidence and called upon all goodthinkers to revise their opinion about the affair. His conclusion? A whole lot of things happened, so let's forget that the white kids were slandered, and instead meditate on the nature of reality:

But rather than drawing conclusions about who was vicious or righteous — or lamenting the political miasma that makes the question unanswerable — it might be better to stop and look at how film footage constructs rather than reflects the truths of a debate like this one. Despite the widespread creation and dissemination of video online, people still seem to believe that cameras depict the world as it really is; the truth comes from finding the right material from the right camera. That idea is mistaken, and it's bringing forth just as much animosity as the polarization that is thought to produce the conflicts cameras record.

Because the newer video of the Lincoln Memorial encounter is so much longer, some would contend that it offers clarity about how the conflict arose.

But the Atlantic is here to tell you that it doesn't. In the immortal words of Groucho Marx, "Who you gonna believe, me or your eyes?"
... For example: At one point, the Black Hebrew Israelite protester holding the camera engages with a woman who had pointed out that Guatemala and Panama are indigenous names with their own meaning, different from names such as Indian or Puerto Rico ascribed by Spanish conquistadors. "I am from Panama," the cameraman claims, "so now I'm indigenous from Panama ... We indigenous, so we out here fighting for you."

As best I can tell, the speaker means to argue ...

And so on, blah, blah, blah. You see, the issue is the uncertain nature of reality as portrayed by the camera, NOT the fact that the kids in question were deliberately set up and then slandered and their futures put in jeopardy by the leftist establishment, just for the crime of being white and Christian.

Meanwhile, it looks as if this may be Phillips's Tawana Brawley moment. Now that he's got the spotlight on himself, can he exploit the publicity to become a media player and make himself a lot of money? He certainly seems mendacious enough; the question is, is he as clever and ruthless as Al Sharpton, and can he pose and bloviate as effectively? I'm skeptical, but I'm rooting for him. (January 2019)

A zinger, razor sharp. "Remember: if you see a mob picking on a boy, Gillette wants you to intervene." — libertarian economist and commentator Robert P. Murphy. (January 2019)

Nicholas Strakon: Changing the indictment. Tom Woods has something to say about the new "blackface" accusation against Covington students. Leftists on social media are promoting this charge, which if anything is even more self-evidently preposterous than the original one involving the Indian drummer.

Now the Left, on Facebook, is promoting the charge brought by a girl from Connecticut that some of the Kentucky boys harassed her by shouting political slogans at her, possibly accompanied by the word "slut." She presented an eight-second video showing ... something. Our own boffins, frustrated, are submitting it to the NSA for painstaking analysis. See what you think.

I am reminded now of Joseph Schumpeter's most famous observation: "Capitalism stands its trial before judges who have the sentence of death in their pockets. They are going to pass it, whatever the defense they may hear; the only success victorious defense can possibly produce is a change in the indictment." Just substitute "normal white Catholic boys" for "capitalism," and Bob's your commissar. (January 2019)

Ronn Neff: Good news from the Great White North! The Coop les Récoltes, a "bar and solidarity co-operative at the Université du Québec à Montréal," gives us this "definition" of "cultural appropriation": "when someone from a dominant culture appropriates symbols, clothing or hairstyles that come from historically dominated cultures." (Note: Evidently at the UQAM no one teaches the mush-heads that a proper definition does not begin with the word "when," but moving on ...)

Greg Robinson, a UQAM professor specializing in black history, explains further that wearing dreadlocks and blackface is "like the N-word." "Blacks can use it among themselves, but if someone from outside uses it, even if he wants to be like blacks, among blacks, there is still an aspect that remains rooted in history."

Good news here:

(1) Blacks can spearhead the revival of the minstrel show! And they can do it without wearing blackface! I look forward to this return of a lost treasure of Western civilization.

(2) Whites will (thank God!) at last be forbidden to sing "Were You There" and other Negro spirituals on Good Friday or any other time. (January 2019)

2018 archive.

Published in 2019 by WTM Enterprises.