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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! This is your intersectionally genial host John Derbyshire with selections from the week's news.
Nothing in this world is more important than show business, we all know that; and this week we marked the height of the showbiz year with the Academy Awards ceremony. Let's take a look at that.
02 — Intersectionality fail. The annual Oscars ceremony came and went, leaving behind it trailing clouds of rancor and vituperation.
An actress named Patricia Arquette won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in the movie Boyhood, which I haven't seen but which has got surprisingly different reactions from friends with tastes like mine. Friend A: "You gotta see this movie!" Friend B: "Total snoozer, skip it." Anyway, congratulations to the lady on getting the award.
Turns out, though, that as well as being an actress, Ms Arquette is also a Suffragette. Accepting the award, she took the opportunity to make a passionate speech demanding equal rights for women. Quote:
To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else's equal rights. It's our time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America.
End quote. The bubblehead celebrities cheered Ms Arquette to the echo.
The wage equality thing is of course totally bogus. Go to YouTube and search on the phrase "Straight Talk About the Wage Gap." There's a mass of videos there exposing the bogosity. I recommend the one from the Independent Women's Forum, which is crisp and short — just three minutes.
However; if 77 is not the number of cents per hour that women earn for each dollar men earn in comparable situations, 77 is pretty close to the mean IQ of an Oscars audience. Their hearts may be in the right liberal place — i.e. a tick or two to the left of Rosa Luxemburg — but there's not much going on in their heads. Hence the cheers.
When more thoughtful elements among the Social Justice Warrior brigades had had a chance to parse Ms Arquette's remarks, they were not pleased. Here for example was Gyno-Afro-American harpy Soraya Nadia McDonald in Tuesday's Washington Post, quote:
Why was there specific mention of "citizens" and "taxpayers?" Was she deliberately omitting people? And what of the verbiage of "women who give birth" when there are plenty of mothers who didn't or couldn't give birth to their children? Why didn't she just say "mothers?"
Ms. Arquette compounded the offense in a backstage interview afterwards, saying, quote:
It's time for all the women in America, and all the men that love women and all the gay people and all the people of color that we've all fought for to fight for us now.
End quote. That betrays a dismaying lack of acquaintance with the theology of Cultural Marxism — with, to be precise, the concept of intersectionality.
As best I can understand it — and this is deep stuff, you really need a six-month course in Critical Theory to be able to deploy these ideas fluently, but I'll do my best — intersectionality is a sort of holistic principle for victimology. The idea is that you can't separate different kinds of victimhood for attention — you can't, to put it in victimological jargon, privilege your own victimhood over others'.
Racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, xenophobia, classism, they all hang together, and it is wrong, wrong for the victims of one kind of oppression to single themselves out for special attention. It's an intersectionality fail. It makes it easier for the cisgendered straight white male oppressors to cull your group from the victim herd and crush it.
As Social Justice Warrior Megan Kearns wrote in — where else? — Bitch magazine, quote:
Arquette excludes women of color and queer women with her statement.
Just so. And what about women of color who are also queer? And possibly disabled non-taxpaying non-citizens? This Arquette woman really doesn't have a clue! Probably a secret Tea Party activist, a plant by the Patriarchy.
03 — Dweebs reach for victim status. Then, later at the Oscars ceremony, the writer Graham Moore stepped up to accept the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. The screenplay he'd worked on was for the movie The Imitation Game, which is about mathematician and code-breaker Alan Turing.
Turing was a homosexual, an upper-middle-class gent who enjoyed being buggered by working-class teenagers. In the argot of the homosexual subculture, he liked rough trade.
In 1952, at age 39, Turing was convicted of gross indecency for having had sexual relations with a 19-year-old man. It was illegal in Britain at that time for men to have sex with men.
And before proceeding, let me just address a small point that I find very annoying. The ABC News story on the Oscars says that Turing was, quote, "prosecuted by British authorities for being gay, which was unlawful in the U.K. at that time," end quote. That's not true. It wasn't unlawful to be homosexual. Homosexual acts were unlawful. Turing wasn't prosecuted for what he was, but for what he did.
This is a very common error. An actual majority of the news stories I've read that mention Turing commit the same error. Entertainment Weekly is even worse. Quote from them: "Turing was prosecuted for the 'crime' of being gay," end quote, with the word "crime" in inverted commas. Again, Turing wasn't prosecuted for being homosexual, he was prosecuted for an unlawful act; and he wasn't prosecuted for a crime in inverted commas, he was prosecuted for an actual crime, on the statute books, legislated by a Parliament elected by universal suffrage.
All right, got that off my chest. What about this Graham Moore chap?
After accepting his Oscar Mr Moore made a brief speech, as is customary. In it he said, quote:
When I was 16 years old I tried to kill myself because I felt weird and I felt different and I felt like I did not belong, and now I'm standing here. I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she's weird or she's different or she doesn't fit in anywhere. Yes you do. I promise you do. Stay weird. Stay different, and then when it's your turn, and you are standing on this stage, please pass the same message along.
End quote. Graham Moore, in spite of his effeminate demeanor, is not homosexual. For one thing, he took pains to tell us he's not. For another thing, if he were, he would have said so out loud at the Oscars ceremony and got a standing ovation for his "courage." And for yet another thing, I googled "Is Graham Moore gay?" and came up dry.
Moore was confessing to having been a weird kid: a dork, a nerd, a dweeb … but not homosexual. Does that give him victim cred? It's not clear. Weird kids have a hard time in school, to be sure. They get bullied by jock kids, for example. The anti-bullying crusade is a homosexual cause, however, and the LGBT crowd don't want anyone stealing their thunder.
So I'm not sure this is even another intersectionality fail. Are dorks part of the coalition of the oppressed? I'm not clear.
Whatever, Graham Moore came in for some biting criticism from the pillow-biters. Slate.com offered one of the gentler reproofs, quote:
The social force behind anti-gay prejudice is far stronger and more pernicious than the animus against social outcasts. Moore's heart was surely in the right place, but I wish he hadn't conflated these identities.
Boy, it's tough being a Social Justice Warrior. Just when you think you're getting public creds for your victim status, along comes someone with a higher-grade victimhood than yours and shoots you down.
04 — Victimhood tournament. So what's going on here? Socially, culturally, what's going on? Listen to Radio Derb, and we shall tell you.
One of Steve Sailer's commenters got a big piece of it, I thought. Let me quote him. Quote:
Intersectionality is Identity Politics' version of heraldry — a method of determining dignity and precedence among the competing victims. A member of the diverse community who prefaces a statement with "As a differently abled transwoman of color …" is essentially displaying the quarterings of her coat-of-arms.
End quote. I think that's right. The holistic aspect of intersectionality corresponds to solidarity among the order of knights, who are united in their contempt of those with no coat of arms to display: townsmen, merchants, villeins. But what do knights do? They fight against other knights.
The Oscars is basically a victimhood tournament. In times of old your worth as a person was measured by noble lineage and brave deeds. That was what you proudly displayed on your escutcheon.
Nowadays, at any rate among those who attend the Oscars or enjoy watching them, your worth as a person is measured by your degree of victimhood. The more victim points you can claim, the higher your standing among fellow knights, and the more colorful your blazon.
But then, what does a knight do at the tournament, after he's through showing off his coat of arms, kneeling to the King, and accepting hankies from beautiful women? Why, he goes into the lists and hacks away at some other knight with lance, battleaxe, and broadsword.
Similar thing here, except that the actual fighting is done offstage. So the actual Oscars ceremony is the run-up, the presentation of one's worth to be in the tournament. The actual combat comes later.
You may say that to be a victim, and whine about it in public, is an ignoble and contemptible thing compared with deeds of valor on the battlefield. If you do say that, you are betraying yourself as hopelessly old-fashioned: hardly fit to live in the modern world at all, and certainly not fit to mingle with the high and exclusive order of Intersectionality.
(And if you think you caught a glimpse of old Fred Nietzsche moving around behind the stage scenery there, you were not necessarily mistaken.)
All right, you may say: but what would happen if some representative of the older, sterner virtues were to show up among the whining victims at the Victimhood Tournament? How would he be received? With amusement? Contempt? Embarrassment? Or just silence?
By way of an answer, I'll just read you a quote from Hollywood Reporter, February 22nd, quote:
Clint Eastwood's American Sniper may have hit it big with America's heartland, but it all but struck out at the Academy Awards.
05 — Bibi stay home. Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, will address Congress on Tuesday.
Why? Well, here you get into some Aristotelian logic-chopping about efficient and final causes. In a nutshell: The efficient cause of Netanyahu's visit is that the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, invited him. The final cause, the end for the sake of which the thing will have happened, is mostly to do with the upcoming Israeli election on March 17th.
Netanyahu, the current Prime Minister, is in a close race with the opposition. This is not a two-party system, you understand, but an umpteen-party system, with a government formed by a coalition of parties that don't disagree with each other too much. It maps approximately on to a two-party system, though, with some parties that are more conservative, more hawkish, more nationalistic, and others that are less so. If enough of the former type of parties win seats in the parliament, and you can corral them into a coalition, you get to be a conservative, hawkish Prime Minister, like … Netanyahu.
Naturally Netanyahu wants to go on being Prime Minister, so he wants conservative-hawkish parties to get out lots of votes and win lots of seats. Now, voters with those kinds of issues on their minds are seriously worried about Iran going nuclear. The U.S. government, along with five other nations, are in talks with Iran, hoping to get some kind of deal, with a target date March 24th, just one week after the Israeli elections.
So to get out the voters he wants, Netanyahu needs to keep the Iran issue at the front of Israelis' minds. It's what he plans to speak about to Congress.
That's the Israeli side of the event. There's also an American side. I mentioned that John Boehner, the Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, invited Netanyahu. Unusually, he did so without consulting with either the President or his Democratic colleagues. That's caused bruised egos all round, and some hypocritical grumbling about the politicizing of foreign policy, as if foreign policy has ever been sealed off from party politics. Some congressional Democrats have said they'll skip Netanyahu's speech, and neither the President nor the Vice President will meet with him.
There's a psephological backstory here. The Jewish Republican vote in Presidential elections went into a long doldrums after being in the thirty or high twenty percents from Nixon in '72 to Poppy Bush in '88, down to the teens and low twenties through the 1990s and up to 2008. In the 2012 election it touched thirty percent for the first time in a generation. Republican strategists guess that the perception Obama doesn't care much about Israel has been a factor here; so signaling that they do care might peel off a few percent more of the Jewish vote.
And there's no downside for Republicans. Taking the electorate as a whole, not just the Jewish vote, Gallup, in a poll released this week, showed less than half of Democrats — 48 percent — saying they sympathize more with Israelis than Palestinian Arabs. Among Republicans, 83 percent sided with Israel. For Independents the pro-Israel faction was 59 percent.
Siding with Israel doesn't mean siding with Netanyahu, of course. American Jews side roughly 99 percent with Israel, the most interesting exceptions being some ultra-Orthodox sects who think the Jews should have held off on declaring a state until the Messiah arrives. Older American Jews tend to be peaceniks on the Palestinian question — people like David Axelrod, the people Barack Obama got his views of the issue from. They don't like Netanyahu, and he doesn't like them. He particularly doesn't like Obama, by all accounts.
Radio Derb does like Netanyahu, especially for his immigration policies. While we think American politicians spend far too much time and money on the damn Middle East, we wish Israel well. It's an outpost of Western Civilization, and we're very fond of Western Civ. We'd be very sorry to see Israel go down, to Iran or anyone else; but Israel seems well able to take care of itself, so this isn't something to lose sleep over.
I have to say, though, that I think other countries should keep their electoral politics to themselves, and not come here looking to gain advantages thereby. I like Netanyahu, and I understand that, personal ambition aside, he's trying to do his best for his country; but I'd prefer him to have stayed home.
06 — Rudy, Obama, and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Dead Horses. Here's another politician I like: Rudy Giuliani, America's Mayor.
February 18th Giuliani was at a dinner in New York City, along with Republican presidential hopeful Scott Walker and a bunch of business and media types. During the proceedings Rudy said the following thing, quote:
I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America. He doesn't love you. And he doesn't love me. He wasn't brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.
End quote. Asked about this, the White House Press Secretary took a more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger line, quote: "I think, really, the only thing that I feel is to feel sorry for Rudy Giuliani today." You can depend on the Obama White House for a touch of sanctimony. I think the implication is supposed to be that Rudy, who is 70 years old, is getting a bit senile, poor chap.
Rudy, bless him, does not embarrass easy. Asked by the New York Post to clarify his remarks on Friday, Rudy pointed out some facts about Obama's upbringing and pre-presidential past.
"From the time he was 9 years old, he was influenced by Frank Marshall Davis, who was a communist," Giuliani said. That is quite true. Davis was a member of the Communist Party; we actually know his party number, 47544, from declassified FBI files. He lived in Hawaii from 1948 until his death in 1987, was friends with Obama's grandfather, and spent time with Obama all through the 1970s, until Obama left to go to college in 1979. Rudy even got the right age for Obama being introduced to Davis: he was indeed nine. So much for Rudy's faculties failing.
Rudy also raised the matter of Obama's 17-years association with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, a crazy leftist black radical who taught his congregation that the Bible says "God damn America!" Sure, it's old news; but the fact that Obama was able to brush off this shameful, disgraceful association remains, to my way of thinking, the most powerful piece of evidence that our media elites were willing to overlook absolutely anything, anything at all, to get a leftist black candidate elected. An association like that would have killed stone dead the prospects of any white candidate, of any party.
Again, the standard riposte is that this is all old news, and we're flogging a dead horse here. Arthur Koestler used to get the same response in the 1960s when he raised the subject of Stalin's purges and massacres: "Yeah, yeah," the lefties said, "we know all that, it's old stuff. Today's U.S.S.R. is different …" These people, said Koestler, belonged to a worldwide secret society: the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Dead Horses, the SPCDH.
The SPCDH is still active, and they've been busy in defense of Obama and his radical past.
If I'm leaving you with the impression that I totally support Rudy on all this, the impression is entirely correct. I've had issues with Rudy, mainly with his insoucience towards mass immigration; but as President of the United States, he would have been a thousand times better than Obama, and certainly wouldn't have been scoffing at the Constitution, undermining border control and awarding mass amnesty to illegal aliens, as Obama's done.
So, does Obama love America? I doubt it. He's a transnationalist left-liberal, and those types generally don't. His mother sure didn't. With her on one side and Frank Marshall Davis on the other during his childhood and adolescence, he sure wasn't getting an education in patriotism.
So here's a round of applause for Rudy, for bringing all this up. And here's a raised middle finger to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Dead Horses.
07 — The Four Comprehensives. How are things going on in my country-in-law, the People's Republic of China?
I don't cover as much China news as I should. Eh, you know how it is: You don't always get on with the in-laws. China's a big, important country, though, so I shall try to make more of an effort.
Last week Radio Derb apprised you of the recent book by Chinese President Xi Jinping, title The Governance of China. We recommended it to listeners as a sure-fire cure for insomnia.
This week President Xi's verbal creativity came bursting forth yet again. He added a new slogan to the Communist Party lexicon: 四個全面, the Four Comprehensives. The poor drudges whose job is to keep up with Communist Party jargon tell us that President Xi was muttering about the Four Comprehensives last December, but this week the Party promoted them front and center with a 2,000-word editorial in Wednesday's People's Daily, the main Party newspaper.
What are the Four Comprehensives? You'll be sorry you asked. Here they are.
The most pointed of the four is the last one, which is a coded reference to President Xi's current campaign against corruption. At least, it's advertised as a campaign against corruption: Cynical China-watchers (if you'll excuse the redundancy) say it's more a purge of Xi's enemies.
If you know anything about China at all, you'll know that this enumerative way of laying down policy has a long pedigree. The previous guy, Hu Jintao, promoted the Three Supremes, none of which was Diana Ross. The guy before that, Jiang Zemin, favored the Three Represents.
Deng Xiaoping pushed the Four Cardinal Principles. Before that there were Zhou Enlai's Four Modernizations. Before that you get into the Cultural Revolution, when citizens were urged to struggle against the Four Olds. Mao Zedong's wife took charge of the nation's culture under the banner of opposing the Eight Black Theories. No, they are not something out of African American Studies; the Eight Black Theories were ideas about literature and art that Mrs Mao thought insufficiently revolutionary. For example: "the theory of depicting things as they are." You don't want people doing that.
Further back there were the Five Tendencies, about which the less said the better, and not to be confused with the Five Poisons, the Five Togethers, and the Five Categories of Black Elements. "Black," I should say, is a general pejorative in Chinese — something Eric Holder should look into, perhaps.
Sometimes there's a whole sheaf of enumerations to remember. Soldiers in the People's Liberation Army have to adhere to the Three Rules of Discipline and Eight Points for Attention. When I was living in China in the early eighties everyone had to know the Five Ethical Standards, Four Beautifications, and Three Ardent Loves. When I first encountered those I thought the Three Ardent Loves might definitely be worth looking into. Imagine my disappointment when I unpacked them: They turned out to be: "Love the Motherland, Love Socialism, Love the Party."
You even get nested items sometimes. Zhao Ziyang, who was General Secretary of the Party until he took the wrong side in the 1989 ructions, promoted One Central Task and Two Basic Points. The second of the Two Basic Points was … the Four Cardinal Principles!
I could go on indefinitely with this stuff, but it's kind of a niche interest, I know. I'll just add that it's not an especially communist thing. The old Confucians went in for it too. A good Confucian woman, for example, was defined by the Three Obediences and the Four Virtues. The Three Obediences were to the father before marriage, to the husband when married, to the son if the husband died. I'll leave you to look up the Four Virtues.
So there we are: Xi Jinping and the Four Comprehensives.
I'd like to give you some further insights into current Chinese politics, but to be perfectly frank, I don't have any. The following item did catch my eye while I was browsing the Chinese news media, though. This is from the English-language China Daily, January 28th, headline: Making the pole their goal.
The story concerns the Luolan Pole Dancing School in Beijing's Central Business District. Yes, pole dancing is the big new thing with young Chinese women, strictly as a form of exercise, of course. Sample quote:
Amid the thrilling beat and the squeak of flesh on metal, more than 20 scantily clad young women propel themselves vertically on 4-meter-high poles, swinging upside down, arching their backs, and extending their legs while holding the pose with power and grace …
End quote. Wow. I wonder what Mrs Mao would have said.
[Aside] It's getting a bit warm in here, Mandy. Could we put the a/c on, please? … Thanks.
08 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: Just continuing the China theme for a moment, listen to this:
[Clip: "大家好。 新年快樂 。。。"]
What the heck was that? Well, that was Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg, pandering in Mandarin. As we told you last week, Zuckerberg is trying hard to get China's ban on Facebook lifted, and these are the lengths he will go to.
I asked our Chinese-language consultant here at the studio how good his Mandarin actually is. "About the same as yours," she sniffed. Trust me, this is not high praise.
Personally I could care less about Zuck's pandering to the panda nation, in any language he likes. What makes me loathe and despise the guy is his pandering to America-haters like George Soros, and his funding and advocacy for open borders and the displacement of American workers.
Item: Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe turned 91 last Saturday. For reasons not known to me, the actual celebrations will be held this Saturday, the 28th, at a cost of many millions of dollars.
Radio Derb reported in detail last November on the state of affairs in Zimbabwe after 34 years under black supremacy, and so far as I can discover the situation is unchanged since then. Zimbabwe remains at number 227 out of 228 nations listed by annual GDP per capita in the CIA World Factbook, at $600, with only the Congo being poorer, at $400.
So … Happy Birthday, Cap'n Bob!
Item: Microaggression of the week: Flipping through the news websites, I saw a headline saying "Giuliani apologizes." "Say what?" I thought, "That can't possibly be right." I went back and checked.
Sure enough, I had mis-read it. It wasn't Giuliani who'd apologized, it was Giualiana: to be exact, Giualiana Rancic, presenter of a fashion program at the cable TV channel E!
Ms Rancic had been commenting Monday night on the Oscars. Among those she passed comments on was a young lady named Zendaya Coleman, a pop singer. Zendaya is a light-skinned mulatto, offspring of a white mother and a black father. For the Oscar ceremony she wore a fetching white silk gown and her hair arranged in long Rastafarian-style dreadlocks.
It was the dreadlocks that got Ms Rancic's attention. Quote from her: "I feel that she smells like patchouli oil … or weed. Yeah, maybe weed."
Ms Rancic has spent the last five days on the apology circuit, and will likely spend the rest of her life on it.
I'm not sure, but this may be the most trivial, inconsequential story Radio Derb has ever reported on. To be perfectly frank: If you give one hundred thousandth of a flying fig newton what Ms Rancic said, or what Ms Coleman feels about it, you are seriously in need of getting a life.
I'm not even sure this rises to the level of a microaggression; it may be merely a nanoaggression. How do those lines go again?
Microaggressions have nanoaggressions
Item: Finally, a sad update on the story of Mr Paul Bennett of Wigan, northern England. We reported in our January 31st podcast Mr Bennett's misfortune in having been arrested for attempting sexual intercourse with a public mailbox.
Well, I'm sorry to report that Mr Bennett was found dead behind a Chinese restaurant, also in Wigan, in the wee hours of Sunday morning, February 22nd. Foul play is not suspected; there seems to have been a drug issue.
Our condolences to Mr Bennett's next of kin and apologies for having mocked his eccentric choice of sex partners. May he find himself in a better place, well-furnished with shapely, freshly-painted public utility installations.
09 — Signoff. That's all the news I have time for this week, listeners. The Republic still stands, in spite of the best efforts of our politicians, and wealthy Hollywood airheads can still strike poses as champions of the downtrodden.
In relation to which, as an afterthought, I just looked up Patricia Arquette on CelebrityNetWorth.com. They have her listed at net worth $24 million. Call me reactionary, but I liked the old Shakespeare days, the days of Elizabethan theater, when actors and actresses were the dregs of society and liable to be run out of town on a rail if a performance flopped.
Well, well, enough of this class resentment. Let's have some music to see us out.
Today is February 28th, which is not Rossini's birthday. That's a musicological joke. The great opera composer was born in 1792, a leap year, on February 29th; so in spite of living to 1868, he only had eighteen proper birthdays. If he was still alive today he would have had 53.
I'm not sure if that qualifies Rossini for victimhood — you'll have to ask the intersectionality crowd — but he sure did write some lovely songs. Here's one of his best: Tanti affetti, sung by the incomparable Joyce DiDonato. Tanti affetti means "so many feelings …" Everything's worked out well for the heroine and her breast is churning with happy emotions: just the state of mind I want you to have after listening to Radio Derb.
From whence there will be more next week!
[Music clip: Joyce DiDonato, Tanti affetti]