(A reader was looking through this essay, today, and I remembered how much I liked it… so I’ve decided to bring it back)
There are actually people out there who think that everything they do or feel is interesting and a little more correct and even, in a way, Saintly. They are convinced of the no-brainerness of their Goodness. They crave attention, they demand validation, they post images of their breakfasts for us to praise. They have unshakable faith in the concept of the given that their Belief Systems/ Political Party/ and Personal Roster of Icons are all tops and most righteous and that anyone who disagrees, for whatever reason(s), is a bed-wetting troll beneath contempt.
I, with my nuanced and non-partisan views (eg, Trump is a radioactive twat but so are all the others in power: to hate on Trump while beatifying BHO and HRC is naive-bordering-on-delusional… OR… most Islamophobia is stirred up by sinister pro-Israel media interests but that doesn’t mean that Islam isn’t just as asinine, and destructive, as the Judeo-Christian matrix, because it fucking is… and so on) often run up against these Toxic Snowflakes and the brittle walls of their irrational Feels. Some Toxic Snowflakes are Right Wingers and some are Liberals (both sides consider me anathema) but the ones I know In Real Life are largely (though not entirely) of the Liberal type. They are by far the most irritating because I know them well. I went to college with them, I slept with them or their exes or their sisters, we were roommates. I met their brothers and parents, spent weird weekends at their cabins, was invited to their cookouts and weddings.
I didn’t know any middle class Blacks when I was coming along… all the Blacks I knew, in America, were poor because I was Black and the same (we didn’t have cookouts or cabins or weddings). There are well-off branches of my Family that I am no closer to than I am to Bill Gates. The cookouts and weddings and cabins I visited, in my college and post-college days, were 100% White Liberal… each gathering with its one anomalous spot of preternaturally sentient Darkness.
The racist shit I have heard Liberals say!
… The time I was at a dinner party c. 1990 and Jhon W. told a “scaaary” tale of New York at the table, a tale about a Brooklyn fast food joint at midnight, Jhon leading with “We were the only w…. uh… um… people there!” Just like the time Kathy J. was telling a similar scaaary/”hilarious” anecdote about being the only White Person in a crowded elevator, but, again, caught herself and edited it, awkwardly, in real time to “And I was the only w… uh… short… person in the elevator!” both stories (separated by ten years) rendered nonsensical by the PC edit they inserted after glancing my way. There was a period during the ’80s during which I heard or overheard stories featuring the narrative trope of “Three Big Black guys!” at least a half a dozen times per year. There were always three of them and they were always big and, it goes without saying, terrifyingly Black. None of which were stories about being raped/robbed… these were “funny” stories about assuming that being raped/ robbed by the legendary Three Big Black Guys was imminent. The 19th century’s Bogeyman mutated, after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, into Three Big Black Guys. And these, remember, were Liberals talking this bumpkin bullshit. Don’t Big White Guys ever travel in threes and beat Liberals up? Not on TV.
… The time I was standing in a rehearsal room with an older, highly accomplished, Liberal White Guitarist and he said, of a piece of busted gear, “We are going to have to nigger-rig it,” with a chummy wink at me. (Revenge for having had surreptitious anal sex in the missionary position with his sister in the same big band room we were all supposedly sleeping in? Probably.)
… The time I was working, as a young singer, with the Head Engineer at Metro Studios and he went to the trouble of remarking, out of the blue, several times, on how “good-looking” Eddie Murphy was. (Eddie Murphy? Good looking? I thought Eddie Murphy was a goofy-looking comedian with a nice haircut. Tyson Beckford was “good-looking”.)
…The time my first New Wave hairdressing girlfriend talked about us getting married (I was prepared to put a stop to that fantasy the minute it got too serious) and arranged a meeting with her Liberal Parents and Liberal Parents conscientiously explained to us how autonomically Racist grandmother was… “she just trembles uncontrollably in the presence of Black People!” as a way to dissuade us (her). I wanted to say, “If you think I want to actually marry your unremarkable daughter, you’re deranged. I like her… she’s sweet… but I’m quite convinced that I can do much better!” (And I did much, much better many, many times).
…The time, in Berlin, I was invited, by a White middle class “Communist” Liberal American script-writer, to a lunch with a Black director, whom this Liberal confided in me, beforehand, was “one of those funny-looking Black guys who isn’t really Black” (the director, it turned out, was merely mixed, as I am). The same Righteously Liberal Commie Miles Davis Fan script-writer, at the same lunch, as the Black director perused the Berlin menu with a frown, joked, “No grits on there, huh?”
…The time I was at a Liberal White Dinner Party in San Diego, in the late ’90s, and a Liberal denounced Prince, haughtily, as having a “White Woman Fetish”. Now, I often dismissed Prince as being a faded ’80s popstar who’d been recycling corny funk/Latin jams for a decade, but how were his dating preferences any less his private business than anyone else’s were? Do White Women who exclusively date White Men have a “White Man Fetish”? Is it a biological law, in a pluralistic society, that Jews-date-Jews, Wasps-date-Wasps and Blacks-date-Blacks, or is that just a Racist Maxim we complicity adopt as self-evident? I said, to her, “David Duke is probably complaining about the same thing at this very moment,” and joke-high-fived her over the dinner table; the poor Liberal wasn’t sure how many layers of irony I was deploying, and, of course, I’m Black, so she high-fived me right back.
…The time I was in the recording studio with the studio head and Prince’s first drummer (an Ur-Liberal by definition, no? with his curly perm) and the studio head (Jewish) asked Prince’s first drummer (Jewish) about a trip the drummer had just returned from (scouting a band in Ohio).
Studio Head: “How were they?”
Prince’s first drummer: “(Eye roll) Oh you know. Negroes.”
After which Prince’s first drummer caught himself (I was standing right there) and said, “Sorry, man.”
The Racism evident in these (and many, many more examples) never shamed or wounded me… I always just shrugged or laughed them off because they were only idiotic or autistic “micro-aggressions,” after all, and only worth noting because they are informative. They tell us that privileged people are generally clueless about Who They Really Are, for one thing (spiritual laziness and egocentric complacency seem to come with the gift of being born into relative comfort)… and they explain quite a lot about the look and feel of the Modern World. They explain the bizarre ubiquity, of twenty or thirty years each, of both Samuel Jackson and Morgan Freeman (quick: name the White equivalent of each; you can’t because the function they fulfill is Race-specific, just as you can’t name one single example of the Black equivalent of Brad Pitt, or of Jennifer Lawrence or Kristen Stewart… I shouldn’t have to tell you that the non-transferability of these archetypes is, in itself, an artifact of Racism). They explain why Ralph Ellison is considered a “giant of black Literature” when the motherfucker has published one mediocre novel. Paul Beatty’s prize-winning work is the work of an intellectual adolescent and Marlon James’ reads like bloated, gory fan fiction at best (not quite Faulkner or even as adept as Neal Stephenson): Liberals love awarding prizes to intellectually non-threatening, under-cooked Black semi-talents. The dumber the better.
The cultural damage done: immeasurable.
More psychic damage done to “Free” Blacks for two generations under the Welfare State than during several generations of Slavery, possibly? Slavery produced the public figure of Frederick Douglass and, thereafter, WEB Dubois. Who did the Welfare State produce, the eerily antebellum (bucking and winging) caricature, of a Black Intellectual, called Cornell West? What did the (neo) Liberal Cultural Complex give us? Snoop Dawg? The movie Precious? Mumble Rap? Obese Black “models”? Tracy Morgan? Whites prefacing an example of anything they like with “I loves me some…”?
No… Yeah, fuck it: give me Right Wingers to deal with instead.
I’d rather be on a muddy field of battle with a garbage can lid and baseball bat, facing off against a Right Winger equipped with same, than meet a Liberal on the same field, a Liberal offering a bouquet of flowers with one hand hidden behind his or her back…
I wouldn’t go to a Right Wing dinner party, or attend a rally, obviously, but online interactions with crazed Right Wingers are orders of magnitude less irritating than tangling with Liberals. In the context of a Civil Culture War, A) Their (Right Wing) positions are clear and their motivations are clearer and B) their self-knowledge is generally on-point: they are not changelings. The total range of the gap between a Right Winger’s public and private personae is reassuringly small, unlike with Liberals, in which case the gap can be vertiginous and strange, even, to the Liberals in question.
It’s always 10,000 B.C. in a Right Winger’s mind, a War for resources (land/ meat/ water/ pussy). There’s no point in trying to convince a Right Winger that inter-tribal cooperation makes more sense, and will solve more problems, in the end, than the ungovernable spiral of the War Reflex. The ungovernable spiral of the War Reflex won’t stop when all Whites or Blacks are “finally” eradicated: eradicating the Obvious Other only yields subtler distinctions by which to divide into Warring Camps. Soon enough it’s the Talls against the Shorts (a lá Rwanda), Thin Talls against the Plump Talls, Hairy Plump Talls against the Hairless Plump Talls, Smart Hairy Plump Talls against the Strong Hairy Plump Talls and so on until the very problem of Humanity itself is finally resolved with a stillness and a silence. And, Lo, the rabbits shall crawl cautiously from their burrows and frolic freely in the fields. Right Wingers don’t (can’t?) Grok that but their cognitive shortfalls are not my burden because they aren’t trying to befriend me or entice me with grant-offers or pseudo-Brotherhood or romance.
Right Wingers can be like dangerously bellicose animals or life-threatening features of the landscape we can map, respect (even) and easily avoid. Maybe they want Georgia: give them Georgia. Maybe they don’t want me in their favorite bar: I am happy to avoid their favorite bar. How could I possibly be attracted to their favorite bar, or their Cousin-women? I can co-exist with Right Wingers (from afar) in a way that is more desirable than with crypto-Racist Liberals.
I’m thinking of one Right Winger in particular right now.
I’m thinking about Mike P.
I met Mike P. in the “Reagan Revolution” mid-1980s. The “Greed is Good” years.
A short guy with a pretty face and a George Michael fetish (back when we all assumed George Michael, hilariously, was straight: how must it have discombobulated Mike when George came out?), Mike got an okay record deal, released one toe-curlingly unimaginative and derivative record and subsequently weaved in and out of the periphery of the music biz, just like I did, during the ’90s and early Aughties. In the early Aughties, Mike was trying to be a record producer in [famous music capitol redacted] and I was in Berlin, co-writing shitty German pop songs and collecting good Royalty checks.
Mike and I reconnected on FeceBorg in 2007 (after 20 years) and exchanged quips about The Good Old Days. I trawled his account and found a treasured pic of Mike enjoying facetime in Ronnie Reagan’s Oval Office, Mike looking like a thoughtful longhaired popstar, head cocked and hands clasped behind his back, absorbing Ronnie’s oatmeal breath (I assume) as Ronnie dithered on. Mike, like most Right Wingers, is a sucker for the purity of The Imagery (think of the Nazis, who were made of Imagery), and his understanding of the “Reagan Revolution” (which gave way to the Botched Bush Coup) could never have possibly expanded to encompass Iran/Contra, or The October Surprise or the Reagan/Bush White House “call boy” scandals which connect, for example, all these years later, to the Epstein Affair. Mike’s understanding of “Reagan” was/is nearly nil: all Mike needed from Ronnie was that picture and he got it.
Mike is not a stupid man. That is, Mike, when he is being stupid (as we all sometimes are), is not stupid in an uncomplicated way. He’s a technically knowledgeable musician with a degree (his thesis, as I recall, had to do with elision in the work of Debussy) and an on-again, off-again respect for Knowledge as a concept. But I remember commenting, on his FeceBorg wall, that “fluoride, if useful at all, should only be applied topically; its most commonly-marketed form derives as a crude industrial byproduct of aluminum production and accumulates, in the human body, as a neuro-toxin shown to impede cognitive functions… avoid swallowing the stuff because it makes you stupid!” and Mike shot back, with normative zeal, “Avoid it? I even take extra fluoride pills and I feel great, buddy!” For Mike, an issue like “fluoride,” despite the fact that he and his wife and daughter ingest grams of the shit weekly, is not a health issue. He doesn’t need a link to the relevant studies. For Mike it’s an Ideological thing. As though his body itself is an idea expressed for the purpose of sending a political message. Which it is clearly not. If someone sane were to tell me that olive oil is carcinogenic, my first response would be to ask for a link to the relevant studies. My second response would be to read those studies. To do otherwise is either slightly, or largely, stupid.
On the other hand, in many ways, Mike is one of the most admirable people I know (though I know him from afar these days, which is a good arrangement; Mike defriended me from his FeceBorg when I made an unfair, in Mike’s mind, crack about “The Tea Party” being a bunch of Racists; yes, perhaps 2% were on the fence regarding the Klan, the 2% including Mike). He married a woman with a good corporate job, they invested in a tony-looking property and Mike spent a decade upgrading the place, architecturally, with his bare fucking hands (except when he had to hire roofers etc. ), lifting the ceilings, adding expertly-made decks and gazebos and airy arboretums and a pool house until the place looked like a proper millionaire’s trophy-home. They “flipped” the property, as the kids say, for a whopping profit. A feat of serious hard work, technical knowledge, skill and intelligence and I salute Mike for it.
He is also a massively-devoted Dad, touchingly chunkier and more bald every day, and he probably calls his daughter “Princess” or “Duchess” or something equally obvious and that is just fine. There are play-date pictures of Mike’s daughter with a little Black school chum and here’s the irony: I have not, in over a decade of snooping through FaceBorg pics, seen one of my Olde Liberal Chums display a single pic of a Black kid at one of the sleep-overs, camping trips, school plays or 4th of July barbecues. If they could have they would have jumped at the chance to post such a thing, I’m sure, but…
I’d rather see someone like Mike training “inner city kids” in carpentry than one of my Liberal Hackademic friends “teaching” the same kids crypto-Racist texts from the Liberals-vetted, poison canon of “Black Literature” (like the inferiority-perpetuating “Native Son” or “Their Eyes Were Watching God”). Mike, a Right Winger who is only as (baseline) Racist as standard Liberals are, but far less coy about it, and better because he can pass on actual Life Skills, would be a great teacher of “inner city kids”. Mike may not (or may not want to) understand the strident, corrosive, well-funded crypto-proto-Nazi interests in American Culture that have been waging a PC genocide against Blacks since Reconstruction, but he would teach these Black Kids how to build. He would.
No one ever taught me how to build. My father was a modernist portrait painter, but he never taught me how to paint, either (I think he liked being the only one, in the immediate family, who could paint, so when I taught myself a little Art, and passed that on to Daughter, and she surpassed my abilities by the time she was 12, I was deeply gratified). I taught myself, eventually, to be patient and thorough in everything I attempt and to exercise quality-control in my output: the secular spirituality of High Standards.
Every time a Liberal promotes a corrupt Black politician as exemplary, or a poorly-written novel, by a mediocre Black novelist, as a masterpiece, he/she/it is further wounding the critically-injured Black Body Politic in America… while confirming her/his/its own secret sense of superiority. Every time a Liberal with a Media Presence re-circulates the risible fallacy that “Blacks can’t be Racist,” they enable more clueless (and ultimately self-wounding) Black Racists. And so on.
A Right Winger who falsely calls anyone “inferior” is practically demanding that the target prove the opposite and only an idiotic Liberal (or one with a subconscious ulterior motive) considers such a challenge “hurtful” or “unhelpful”. It’s only “hurtful” if you secretly think it’s true.
It is, rather, profoundly helpful.
I’d rather fight a clear enemy than fight with a crypto-enemy by my side.
Wouldn’t you, if you had to fight?
I just hopped on a Liberal (Ex’s) FeceBorg page to check the spelling of a name cited above and the hypocritical sanctimony that rose from the page just knocked my socks off! There’s a picture of said Ex helping a snapping turtle cross her country road (and a link to some Save The Snapping Turtles Petition she has signed) but said Ex and I had a falling out, years ago, when I was still on FeceBorg, because she’d posted a picture of a hunter in front of the corpse of a very large, antlered animal… with a comedic caption. Because she’d hired the Liberal Redneck to shoot the fucking animal because “it was a pest who ate my rose bushes”! I guess the large, majestic creature (living there as a species since time immemorial) didn’t get the memo about the rose bushes. Also, Deer aren’t as cute as snapping turtles, so…
Rather nice entertainment, for a change (though it’s amusing that everyone in the comments mentions the old skool MC cameos, but no one notices the Hendrix reference in the track)…