I've reached that happy stage in life where I'm like the bewigged judge at the Old Bailey: "Who are these 'Beatles' to whom the defendant refers?"
"I believe they're a 'popular beat combo', m'lud."
So I have no very clear idea who Amy Schumer is. Never knowingly seen or heard her. But I understand she's boffo with the millennials, and one must respect a hit. So I was interested to see turn up in my inbox this headline from Salon:
Amy Schumer's one tweet that captures the Rachel Dolezal controversy
Naturally, I clicked. And this was it, the Tweet that singlehandedly "captures the Rachel Dolezal controversry":
Oh, no, wait. First, "the editors" (for this appears to be a Salon editorial) preface the Tweet as follows:
Leave it to Amy Schumer to sum everything up.
Gotcha. So now here's the Tweet that is the grand summation of l'affaire Dolezal:
Wait, we can be black if we want?
Hmm. I don't know about you, but I'm not entirely persuaded that that is quite the perfect summation of the Dolezal story it's cracked up to be. Indeed, those eight words have a palpable bet-hedging to them, acknowledging the need to say something while shrewdly avoiding saying anything. Of course, being posed as a question, it has a crafty ambiguous quality. But, in the end, not that ambiguous - for that Salon headline I quoted above isn't the whole story. The editors felt obliged to qualify it with a parenthesis:
Amy Schumer's one tweet that captures the Rachel Dolezal controversy
(But the answer is still no)
Ah, thanks for clarifying. Don't try this at home, boys and girls.
Wait, we can make jokes if we want?
(The answer is still no.)
~On the subject of the artful poise of Miss Schumer and the strict party line of the Salon pajama boys, here's Barbara Kay in Canada's National Post on the ever tighter constraints on what can be expressed:
That freedom is now in free fall. (If you don't believe me, refer to Caitlyn Jenner as "he" on Twitter and wait an hour for the cancellation of your talk at (insert university here).) Like the proverbial frogs in slowly warming water, most of us have learned to censor ourselves on matters trivial ("Still Bruce, I say!") and momentous ("Yo, what's up with Islam?").
That's no exaggeration. The Jewish National Fund of Canada has canceled a speech by US presidential candidate Mike Huckabee because ...go on, guess: he supports Hamas? he's called for a boycott of West Bank hummus? he's pledged to move the Gazastan Embassy to Jerusalem?
No, not at all. He's one of the few western politicians who isn't in favor of all of the above. Huckabee is a staunch friend of Israel, but, alas for his Ottawa booking, he was insufficiently respectful of Caitlyn Jenner. So no JNF speech for you. You can't be a friend of Israel if you're "transphobic". In the International Jewish Conspiracy, that's a big no-no. So take your cis-male I-stand-with-Israel shtick and scram. The Jewish National Fund doesn't need you. Send your check to the Iranian Nuclear Fund and mark it "Transphobes for Enrichment". What was it that German pastor said?
First they came for the Jews and I did nothing.
Then I decided okay, I'll do something for the Jews.
But then they came for the transgendered and I did nothing, so the Jews said screw off.
So I said okay, I'll do the TransWoman of the Year luncheon.
But then they came for the non-colored women of color and I did nothing, because by then I was getting a bit of a headache...
No word yet on who they're replacing Huckabee with. Maybe they could book Caitlyn Jenner to explain why Israel should be more like her penis: No need to get rid of it entirely, but just keep it tucked out of sight because people don't want it in their face. Or maybe Rachel Dolezal could put on a yarmulke and a hooked nose and sing "If I Were A Rich Man"...
Sorry, where was I? Oh, yeah. Free speech. Barbara Kay continues:
"If there is no check on the freedom of your words, then let your heart be open to the freedom of our actions." Who said that? Was it climatologist Michael E. Mann, creator of the famous - and, thanks to Canadian mining entrepreneur Stephen McIntyre, famously discredited - climate-warming "hockey stick" graph? Nah, it was al-Qaida taking credit for the Charlie Hebdo massacres.
But they're birds of a speech-suppressive feather. They both think dissent from, or mockery of, their sacred belief systems justifies real, or at least professional, death.
Golly. Michael Mann is the al-Qaeda of climate science? I feel a new T-shirt slogan in the works...
Celebrate the Magna Carta's 800th birthday by joining Mark Steyn in his (expensive!) battle on behalf of all who value freedom of speech. It's easy: buy his books, coffee mugs and t-shirts at steynonline.com.
I'm very grateful - and we will win.
~I try to stay chipper about Rachel Dolezal and the rest of this stuff, but it's not really funny, is it? More and more levers of civilization appear to be in the hands of the clinically insane. The other day Asghar Bukhari of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee wrote on his Facebook page:
Someone came into my home yesterday, while I was asleep. I don't know how they got in, but they didn't break in - the only thing they took was one shoe. Now think about that. The only thing they took was a single shoe - they left one shoe behind to let me know someone had been there.
Intriguing. Who could have done such a thing? Mr Bukhari is in no doubt:
ARE ZIONISTS TRYING TO INTIMIDATE ME?
Being in on it, Laura Rosen Cohen has an excellent round-up of the International Shoeish Conspiracy, including this Tweet from Arthur Lenk, Israel's Ambassador to South Africa:
If Mossad really wanted to mess with Asghar, they'd break in again and replace his missing shoe with a matching one, but in a smaller size. They're cunning like that.
My old friend Douglas Murray gently tried to suggest to Asghar that the shoe might be under the sofa or the bed - I had a dog, whom I miss to this day, who loved my shoes and always liked to take them downstairs or upstairs or sometimes outside. But Mr Bukhari would find the thought of a dog in his house almost as loathsome as the thought of a Zionist.
And yet he is a respectable figure in many TV and radio producers' rolodexes: He certainly gets asked on the BBC more than I do. For the moment we're allowed to guffaw at his paranoia, but it's not to hard to foresee a half-decade hence that we'll be obliged to hedge our bets as artfully as Amy Schumer re Ms Dolezal.
And, while Asghar sounds nutty to us, are we entirely confident we sound all that sane to him and his ilk? Imagine if you're some upcountry imam in Waziristan taking time out from your child bride to catch up with current events via the BBC World Service: The most glamorous woman in America has a penis in her bustier, for which she gets the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. A white lady blacks her face every morning and goes off to her job as president of the local African-American grievance-mongering society. The most lucrative public-speaking engagements on the planet are 20-minute million-dollar talks on African diarrhea, and the wife of the man who pockets the check is running for president on her opposition to income inequality and the rapacious one per cent.
Mightn't that inbred imam, carefully placing his wireless set back underneath the dried goat dung, think we're at least as loopy as Asghar Bukhari?
And, indeed, given our respective starting points, descending into madness even faster?
~Final thought, toby52 comments on my climate-conference speech:
That Heartland Keynote reminded me so much of Orwell's Two-Minute Hate from 1984, it sent a shiver up my spine.
Yeah, I got it straight from Orwell.