Here are some of the things audience members unfamiliar with American history and its dark corner containing Presidential assassins will learn as they watch the much-acclaimed Stephen Sondheim/John Weidman musical “Assassins,” a very fine production of which I saw over the weekend:
…Nobody knows why actor John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln. It may have been “bad reviews.”
...Lee Harvey Oswald worked in the Dallas book depository, and and was originally going to shoot himself, not President Kennedy.
…Giuseppe Zangara was attempting to assassinate President Franklin Delano Roosevelt when he killed the Mayor of Chicago and wounded five bystanders in 1933, but didn’t really care which, because both of them “controlled the money.”
…Sarah Jane Moore was a quirky, whacky, Lucy Riccardo-like housewife who just wanted to kill President Ford for no particular reason.
…Moore and Lynnette “Squeaky’ Fromme knew each other and jointly attacked Ford.
…President Garfield “succeeded Grant.”
…Presidential assassins are all cut from the same psychological cloth, desperate Americans living on the margins of a cold-hearted nation that ignores them, who decide to become important by killing a President of the United States.
None of the above is true, and that just scratches the surface of the elaborate, anti-America conceit that is “Assassins.” It is conceived as a cynical carnival game underlying a time-warping portrait of some of the men and women, far from all, who have tried, successfully or not, to murder a President of the United States.
I have seen the show multiple times, and it has always been (mostly) well-produced, directed, and acted, although if you set out to drive someone like me crazy, having Booth shoot at Lincoln with a revolver and having Oswald fire just one shot at Kennedy are good ways to do it. The show is also infuriating in its deliberate defiance of history to execute what a couple of artists think is a cool concept and a strong political statement that amounts to an evening’s worth of disinformation. The idea about assassins being a callous society’s losers and outcasts just doesn’t work, and should have signaled that it doesn’t work from the start: Booth, the leader of the time-traveling murderers—they all show up in the book depository to persuade Oswald to kill JFK—disproves the thesis in the first 10 minutes. Booth was no outcast or loser. He was a celebrity. He was successful, famous, and relatively wealthy. He was healthy, relatively sane, and in good shape. Booth was a Confederate fanatic, and determined to do what he could to pull victory out of defeat for the South by killing Lincoln, but he was hardly in the same class as, for example, Charles Guiteau, a certifiable loon, or John Hinckley. Leon Czolgosz , who shot McKinley, was no crazier than Booth. He was a political radical as well, an anarchist like Sacco and Vanzetti, and was convinced that the government had to be brought down in the interests of justice.
Oh, whatever. Details, details. Weidmen’s unforgivable book lumps all motives, passions, political views and ideas genuine and not into a single thesis, “They were all crazy, and America is at fault.” Their targets, meanwhile, the Presidents, are completely dehumanized. Only two appear on stage, and one of those, President Ford, is portrayed as a buffoon. Madness itself is periodically represented as a hoot. Sam Byck was a scary madman who killed two officers and himself trying to hijack a plane to fly into Nixon’s White House. The book never reveals that, I assume to make sure his unhinged rants in recorded messages to such luminaries as Leonard Bernstein get lots of laughs. Squeaky’s delusional reflections on Charlie also are used to raise guffaws: after all, there’s nothing as funny as the Manson Family! Guiteau’s vainglorious delusions, and of course that zany Sarah Jane Moore, are also giggle-fodder. Yet these people were not funny. In addition to the Presidents they attacked, the nine assassins and would-be assassins killed four bystanders and wounded nine. Hilarious! Nor is mental illness funny when it is associated with real human beings. Jack D. Ripper is funny in “Dr. Strangelove” because he satirizes real fanatics. Sarah Jane Moore was not a funny housewife who couldn’t load a gun, she was a cold-eyed killer. Guiteau was nuts, but he also stalked President Garfield for weeks and may have robbed our nation of a great President. Mental illness is a serious problem in the United States that is too often trivialized, with the public, pop culture and news media marginalizing the kinds of people that “Assassins” claims shouldn’t be marginalized even as the book exploits them for cheap laughs.
Sondheim said that ‘there are always people who think that certain subjects are not right for musicals…[w]e’re not going to apologize for dealing with such a volatile subject. Nowadays, virtually everything goes.” The usual worshipful critics saluted Weidman and Sondhiem for positing political murderers are a product of the American political culture. “(Assassins) confronts pain in order to cauterize the decay and heal the sicknesses which lurk at the core of our society,” one typical review emoted.
The show is especially obnoxious being presented now, as so many of the political naifs in the theater community, flushed with excitement after a sniper shot up a baseball field of Congressional Republicans this summer, are drawn to the show by their not-so-secret wishes that a modern day marginalized loser will take a shot at Donald Trump. Actors and others in the performing arts, as the awards show grandstanding has, or should have, taught us, are really like John Wilkes Booth, flush with simplistic political views and more passion than expertise, their ignorance now intensified by social media echo chambers. Of course the fake history, lame pop psychology and facile Leftist anti-American agitprop of “Assassins” appeals to them.
29 thoughts on “Fake History On Stage, Or “Why I Detest Sondheim’s ‘Assassins'””
Maybe the show should have been named after the writer and composer: “Arrogant Assholes.”What is wrong with these people?
I am conflicted. Artistic license should have few limits (think Shakespeare’s Richard III). Reality or history must yield to art. And, there is no bowing to the dumbest person in the room (I disagree with you view of the Titanic movie; no historical inaccuracy about any character should sway my view because I don’t expect historical accuracy from art. That is a bonus, if it occurs. But, in light of all of this, if Assassins is anything like this, I am on board:
(We are the mediocre presidents, if the link did not work. )
It looks like it worked.
I would watch that Simpsons spoof over “Assassins” any day, any time.
Shorter and more accurate. Hard to beat that.
In the former Soviet Union it was said the present and future were always certain. It was the past that never stayed the same.
The concept is simple. If you mischaracterize history and a common understanding of it, you can control people in the present and future.
Who feels like tearing down a few statues?
I propose a new industry of erecting statues, that will immediately get taken down. If we only focus on existing statues, the business of tearing them down is just unsustainable. In our glorious future, there are no unlimited resources!
Fun fact, in the 60’s, Khruschev promised that full communism will be attained in 1980. I do not know what the explanation for the lack of full communism was, but I would guess it was sabotage by foreign agents.
Adimagejim writes: “In the former Soviet Union it was said the present and future were always certain. It was the past that never stayed the same.
“The concept is simple. If you mischaracterize history and a common understanding of it, you can control people in the present and future.
“Who feels like tearing down a few statues?”
Henry James in a book review of ‘Middlemarch’ (George Eliot’s novel) said:
“If we write novels so, how shall we write history?”
Middlemarch summary; ‘One of the few English novels written for grown-up people’ was how novelist Virginia Woolf described this stunning, momentous and moving novel. Set in the early 1830s, Middlemarch is a small fictional village undergoing large social change. There is rapid industrialization and increased social mobility, and no single religious faith ties the community together. In great detail is every class of Middlemarch society examined—from the landed gentry and clergy to the manufacturers and professional men, farmers, and labourers—though the focus of the novel is on the thwarted idealism of its two principal characters, Dorothea Brooke and Tertius Lydgate, both of whom marry disastrously. It is here where Eliot broke with convention. Instead of ending her work with the inevitable marriage and happy ending, as women writers of romance fiction were then expected to do, Eliot chose instead to detail the realities of marriage, even unhappy couplings. Male critics, as a result, castigated her bold and daring narrative as too gloomy for a “woman writer.”
The implication should be plain it seems to me, and it is one with tremendous relevance in this our present. There are a few features to it which I will attempt to explain and, simultaneously, bring out commentary which is relevant to the ethical situation, to the American nation, to *the world*, and then to the denizens of this blog who must be seen, as we all indeed are, as enmeshed within these implied issues.
We do not have to recur to an example from Soviet propaganda to bring home to ourself the essential fact that we live in a time of outrageous historical revisionism and the ‘novelization of history’. It is not them, not they, not those people over there who are enmeshed in this problem, but rather us and we who are intensely confused as to 1) how to interpret the events of the past, and 2) how to interpret the present.
Neither is it exactly ‘them’ and ‘they’ (those who tear down Confederate statues) whom we need to refer to in order to illustrate how the novelization of history and the emotional rages of revisionism operate, but rather how we ourselves live in, think in and out of, and see the world through the lenss of a ‘constructed history’. In case it is not 100% obvious I am referring to the standard, largely American and English, version of history in which various generations have been inculcated. Again, it is not ‘they’ or ‘them’ that need to devote time to seeing and understanding how PR and propaganda have influenced the building of historical narratives, and how these serve the times and the motion and desire of culture, but rather we who have to undertake this project.
If one desires to understand how it is came about that the enraged masses are rushing out to tear down statues with winches, one need look no further (just one example) to the film “Twelve Years a Slave”. There you can see, in near perfect form, a ‘novelization of history’ and the question: ‘If we write novels so, how shall we write history?’ comes into stark relief. It is not a historical film, though it certainly seems so. It is really something else completely though defining it is demanding. I would say that it is a ‘call to action’ in the present.
But seeing what is stark and obvious is the easy part! To review all ‘historical tales’ that pertain to ‘the construction of a national identity’ is what is required. Well, required I suppose I would have to say only in the case of one who really needed to know or had been forced to see the truth.
The ‘ethical implications’ seem to have at least a wee bit of relevance. I can’t help but think of an acute case: the American invasion of Iraq. It does not matter if 10,000 or 500,000 deaths resulted but rather that the entire event is an example of ‘constructed history’ and employing novelized views in order to mobilize a nation to the degree that they would go along with it.
We live within, the live and breathe in, an interconnected system of lies and misrepresentations which are established by powerful interest-constellations. It must be an ethical object, and the object of ethics, to see through this system of lies and at least see and present some, perhaps foggy, but truthful narrative.
Calling All Conservatives! Calling All Conservatives! 😉
Small nit pick, Alizia:
When a progressive hears a Muslim say they want to kill Americans, they think it is cute, and not the Muslim’s fault.
When conservatives hear him, we believe him.
I am attempting to define a ‘true Constitutional conservatism’. I hope that I do not appear nor that I am false to my own project.
I start from a general assertion which seems to me truthful: the standard ‘conservative’ is not really a conservative at all. I suggest that this needs to be looked into. And that the only way to do it is through a close critical examination of what they say and what they recommend.
I am working with ideas more within these lines (Ron Paul) not necessaily becuase I see things as he does, but because I think he really does represent a pole that needs a great deal more understanding and support.
“All this started because Ron Paul said something he wasn’t supposed to say. During the second Republican presidential debate in 2007, when they had him shunted off to the far side and gave him as little airtime as possible, the subject of Al Qaeda came up. “They attack us because we’ve been over there,” he said. “We’ve been bombing Iraq for ten years.”
”The idea that terrorists attack the U. S. because “they hate freedom” was always more of a slogan than a serious position, but it had frozen into Republican orthodoxy. “That’s really an extraordinary statement,” said an outraged Rudy Giuliani. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard that before, and I’ve heard some pretty absurd explanations for September 11.” Even the moderator got huffy. “Are you suggesting we invited the 9/11 attack, sir?” But Paul just continued in the same placid and rational way, oblivious to ordinary political calculations. “I believe very sincerely that the CIA is correct when they teach and talk about blowback. They don’t come here to attack us because we’re rich and free. They come and they attack us because we’re over there. I mean, what would we think if other foreign countries were doing that to us?”
The view of Guliani represents ‘Republican orthodoxy’ and this orhtodoxy, I suggest, is often evident on this blog. I think that orthodoxy encapsulates, in ways that can be explained, an ‘interconnected system of lies and misrepresentations’ which can be examined and ‘deconstructed’ (if you will).
In my view it must be an ‘ethical imperative’ to deconstruct, to the degree that we can, the interconnected system of lies. But this is not easy work by any means!
To understand what is going on in our present requires a detailed and careful analysis and involves intense critical analysis of the ‘narratives’ that are presented to us as ‘truth’. We have to ‘see through’ the narratives that are presented to us and at least glimsingly notice the structures of power that put these tales in motion. I am of the opinion that the Vast Wars of our present were concocted wars in a large degree. And I have deep suspicions about the NY attacks and how they were used to support very radical and very destructive objectives. Therefor, I am suggesting that we have to examine the novelization of our own present.
I do not mean to seem as if I am brushing aside what you say —- I am not —- but what I am attempting to do now in my writing on EA is to examine the topographical events of the day in a larger context.
(A united Occidental will must drive Islam out of Europe is my view. Out of France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, our of Spain and also out of the US. But this can only happen when the Occident recovers its will. This is part of the recovery of identity. The ‘recovery of will’, as I define it, is a huge and difficult undertaking and to bring it about is connected with a revisionism of recent history that, also, represents ‘novelization of history’. What I am talking about is not easy to grasp, or accept, because it is radical and vanguard).
Okay, Alizia, here we go.
Before I start, I want to say I see a lot of your points as plausible observations, from the outside. Calling these things ‘white identity’ are just not useful, from the inside, even if that were the correct terminology. We live in a society that has certain conventions, and (right or wrong) ‘whiteness’ has been demonized my entire life, by those on the left. Therefore, no useful discussion can happen using those terms. This is partly aided by the lack of racial or ethnic identity most ‘white’ people have historically had, given the ‘melting pot’ ethos our nation has subscribed to (off and on) the past 200 years. This is unfortunate, as national pride replaced ethnic boundaries long before roads and communications made information (and ideas, and ideology) easy to trade. Americans simply moved to the frontier, where such distinction mattered less than survival, and blended such that most distinctions were erased before we arrived at a national conversation about it.
You point out that conservatism is not practiced by Americans. From your perspective, I can understand that observation. The media has taken great pains to demonize, ridicule, and shame true conservatism for most of a century. Hollywood gave us horrible examples and told us it represented all conservatives. The media slanted stories to move the goalposts, then did it again, for decades. Therefore, I see three variants of what we call ‘conservatives’ over the past decade.
First, and most prevalent, is the group you have commented on, who we will call the ‘unwashed’ or perhaps the ‘self involved.’ These are emotional low information low educated citizens. These want to live their lives, be left alone, and rarely bother to vote. They have been exposed to progressive propaganda all their lives, and accept certain emotional premises without much thought, like ‘abortion is a constitutional right’ or ‘women make $0.75 on the dollar compared to men.’ They are living their lives, and do not wish to engage in anything that makes them work more than is necessary for their immediate lives. These are the common majority, the ‘sleeping giant’ that has been spoken of before.
They are not lazy: they work very hard for their families and communities. They serve in the military, as firefighters and police; they are farmers, clerks, accountants, teachers, and so on. Their education ranges from no High School diploma through graduate school. They simply have had little existential threat for several generations, and thus have lost first hand experience of why civics is an important topic. Thus they do not think critically, even when they have that ability (Not everyone has the education, training, background, and motivation to think, IMHO.)
This results in the wishy washy RINO (sorry, Jack) being elected to public office, with liberal or even progressive agendas being endorsed. Principles are vague, confused, and can change with little effort. This, Alizia, is what you have seen and commented on many times.
The second group is more motivated and engaged. They might be called ‘moderates,’ if we could use the term without the connotations attached to it the past 30 years by the media. Perhaps we should better label them ‘topical.’ These are your fiscal conservatives, who couldn’t care less about social issues. They are also the social conservatives, voting on a single issue, be it ‘abortion’ or ‘lower taxes.’ They have engaged their chosen topic deeply, with motivated learning and training on the complexities of this and tangential issues. They think critically but narrowly, not extending that ability to the larger scope of conservatism. Their principles, if they have any, are dedicated to their areas of concern. This makes them willing to compromise in areas they are not concerned about, and unreliable allies politically.
Finally, you have your true conservatives, that most closely resemble our founding fathers. We may arise from either group, but usually take a path from the first through the second. We are usually well educated, interested in historical causes of situations, and think critically in our daily lives. We continue to learn, to grow, incorporating this as a part of how we live. We believe in the Constitution, not as a living document, but as an expression of the will of the people. Where it is mutable, it is so by defined processes (some not undertaken in living memory, some not at all.) Laws are to be obeyed, and changed when untenable. Fairness plays a large part in our conversations, not because it is an attainable goal, but because we are ethically, morally, and intellectually driven to pursue that state of being. All men are created equal, but not all outcomes will be equal. Justice must be blind and equal to all, else we have anarchy and slavery.
This group is the most scorned, the most misunderstood, the most outcast (even in the GOP) of any today. Race plays little role: watch how quickly a conservative black or hispanic is dismissed and ridiculed. Gender counts for little: see how conservative women are treated versus progressive ones. Income also matters not: a conservative who is successful is evil by definition, while one who is not is a laughing stock. Why?
Our ideas threaten. The idea of a level playing field is anathema to socialists, and thus their sycophants the media, academia, and Hollywood. We believe that human nature does not change, and that character and actions speak louder than words and intentions. We embrace racial equality, but that is not what is being espoused any longer (if it indeed ever was) in favor of special rights for favored groups. Taking from one to give to another, undeservedly, is wrong, and fraught with subjective judgement error. We believe in a helping hand, but also that to never require action on behalf of the recipient is doing them a much greater injury than the original deprivation being redressed. This damage is to their soul, their self esteem, and to their pride. We infantilize those we provide for, when we do so without reservation or requirement. We are telling them ‘you cannot care for yourselves, so we must do it for you.’ While this might sound good to them on the surface, every human spirit recognizes and comes to resent the implications. But I digress…
So, how does this play out? My observations over the past 40 years lead me to some conclusions. These are working hypothesis, and as such are open to debate.
-The ‘self involved’ class of conservatism is the normal state of humans. They go with what works, and has worked in their parents and grandparents generations. Living life without interference is important to them, and they were raised to believe in freedom and some level of self reliance. When they feel existentially threatened they respond ferociously. Examples of this are Pearl Harbor, 9/11, and the Civil War. They are the sleeping giant, because their limited ideology based on Americanism, common education, and training motivates them to react. The ‘greatest generation’ was a reflection of that impulse. This has turned this nation around many times in the past, and this is what elected Trump.
-‘Topical’ conservative are not true conservatives at all, rather simple activists and radicals, motivated by (usually) self-interest along narrow lines. They have no general conservative principles on which to stand. Scratch a fiscal conservative, and you will find a financial reason for the stance. Scratch a social conservative, and you find anti-intellectual mush oozing out.
-True conservatives, by nature, will incorporate new knowledge into their worldview, and act accordingly. They have had to intellectually defend their position, seemingly against the world, their entire lives. They have had to define themselves, critically examine why they believe as they do, in the face of tough opposition. The determination to not be swayed, despite the scorn and lies told about them, is a hard discipline to master. Decades of such treatment have refined the faithful (if you will) as those without the fortitude to endure have fallen away.
-This self imposed winnowing has lately had a nefarious effect since the Obama Administration. True conservatives have seen how even simple free speech is now a target in the progressive’s cross hairs. This threatens the simple basic freedom to think for oneself, meaning conservatives can be punished just for being so. So I have witnessed a fracture, a crack in the wall, among true conservatives. Understand, we have observed the socialist tactics used against us for decades. Our principles forbid us from replying in kind, lest we lose who we are. With this final straw, our principles will become useless, as we are existentially threatened. This leaves us a choice: hold true and possibly be exterminated, or change, foregoing our higher ideals, to give future generations the chance to exist.
Conservatives are GOOD at what we do, or we would not be able to do it. When a significant fraction (God I hope it is just a fraction) decide to use progressive tactics against our enemies… well, lets just say I am popping popcorn to watch that show, since I cannot stop it. The cold Civil, or Societal, War we have been the victims of for the past three decades has not been fought on an equal basis. It will not be equal now, but, like the French in Vietnam, progressives have had things their way so long they do not know how to adapt to changing conditions. The #meetoo phenomenon is an example of how they can be manipulated to destroy themselves. DACA is another battle ground where pragmatic former conservatives (I think the ‘Alt-Right’ label has been diffused and demonized, so ‘former’ they remain) are, and will continue to, cause progressives to destroy progressive goals, as they no longer know how to compromise.
I must confess, that there is a small emotional part of me that WANTS to see the bullies get their comeuppance. I just don’t agree with my brethren that it will ultimately be best for the country. I think we lower the discourse, and (as such thing tend) it will never be raised again, short of a reset. I believe it would be hard, even for former conservatives, to return to a principled stand once retribution is complete.
Sorry for the run on italics… they should have stopped after ‘against the world.’
I thought you wrote out quite nicely a description that is useful. It helps me to have a better orientation. Certainly I am lacking in background and much of my understanding (of recent US history) I can only cobble together.
Slick wrote: “Before I start, I want to say I see a lot of your points as plausible observations, from the outside. Calling these things ‘white identity’ are just not useful, from the inside, even if that were the correct terminology. We live in a society that has certain conventions, and (right or wrong) ‘whiteness’ has been demonized my entire life, by those on the left. Therefore, no useful discussion can happen using those terms. This is partly aided by the lack of racial or ethnic identity most ‘white’ people have historically had, given the ‘melting pot’ ethos our nation has subscribed to (off and on) the past 200 years. This is unfortunate, as national pride replaced ethnic boundaries long before roads and communications made information (and ideas, and ideology) easy to trade. Americans simply moved to the frontier, where such distinction mattered less than survival, and blended such that most distinctions were erased before we arrived at a national conversation about it.”
As I go along … I keep working to define my terms and to clarify what I think and why. I am *quite certain* at this moment that I strongly believe that there needs to be a renovation-project that centers on Europe. When I say that I mean Euopean paideia. I mean many things though and not all are evident. They require explanation.
You must know, because I have said it so many times, that I am essentially a Eurocentric. I even look at America and Americanism through the lens of Europeanism. America, in this particularly dangerous impass, must I believe ‘return to Europe’. My ideas about this were influenced by Waldo Frank (The Rediscovery of America) which is a book and an author hardly read now, if at all.
You can ‘go to the frontier’, you can go to the very edge of reality, and perhaps you can step over the ledge as seemed to happen in the Sixties (!) but you have to ‘come back into self’. The ‘self’ of America is an extension of the self of Europe. Put in another way, yes, it is possible for European man to abandon self and meld with other selves, or be over-powered by those other selves who do not, and cannot, serve Europe.
The postwar era, to speak specifically of America, gave birth to a deadly spirit that has infected America. This is a disease and a disease requires a remedy. But no remedy will be found nor can be found until the ‘disease’ is understood. Seen in the best light my entire discourse and any conversation I would have has this as its focus: to discover the disease; to give it a name; to propose a cure. No cure = death.
You say (if I understand you right) that ‘white identity’ is not a useful term. You might also say ‘helpful and ‘viable’. I wish that I could agree with you, because agreements lead to being able to work together and are more harmonious. But I cannot. ‘White identity’ must be reencountered, must be rediscovered, re-valued, and every dark and oppressive emotion or fear or self-hatred that has been injected into it like a poison voodoo dart … has to be countered, each and every one, one at a time. I know that what I say sound radical and over-the-top. But I come to it through honest processes.
White America is being slowly killed. If ‘killed’ is too strong I will revert to the *poison* metaphor. The poison has to be identified. If it is not identified no antidote can be brought forward as ‘cure’. Everyone seems to feel that ‘the nation is sick’ or that ‘things are going downhill’ and eveyone has a critique, an explanation why this is. Because I am interested in ‘cure’ I must bring out the essential and the moset relevant terms of conversation. This goes right to the heart of the most important questions that can be asked (which I might call ‘philosophy’ for lack of a better word).
I do, indeed I do, couch the entire conversation, that entire possibility of conversation, very much in the center of essential ‘identity’ issues. In this I am an exponent of a specific school of thought which arose out of French reactionary ideation (Alain de Benoit and GRECE that came on the scene in 1968). Like it or not these ideas do have a connection to European interwar right-reaction and also to fascism. For you and many others the word ‘fascism’ does not mean European right-reaction, both political and from the religious camp, it is just a word that evokes some general animus which is synomamous with ‘bad’ and also ‘evil’.
So, to that, I say: we have to recover the entire ground of ideation. We have to ‘back-track’ and look over all ideation, all over again. This is why when I speak of ‘conservatism’ I am speaking to something that extends beyond American conservatism of a Washingtonian or Jeffersonian sort. A whole gamut has to be exposed to the light, as it were, and the entire conversation has to open up.
I realize that this is not the conventional description of the Alt-Right, and perhaps it is not, but it is what I have come to through my own honest processes.
Once the ‘core of identity’ is reanimated, reactivated, many many different things will simply fall into line. There is a saying which I picked up from an Irish priet: ‘Take care of the boys and the girls will take care of themselves’. When I use the word ‘boy’ I am referring to a masculine self. Take care of the masculine self and the feminine self will follow suit. I don’t wish to be mis-read but it is the ‘masculine self’ that needs to recover itself, and this is done through establishing the ground of identity, a masculine project. Therefor, you see, in my ideology men serve women as in the family and children, but this must also mean that woman must serve man. But she asks —- she demands —- that man reorient himself correctly. This is demanding spiritual work. The woman that I wish to be has identified what she serves.
“You say (if I understand you right) that ‘white identity’ is not a useful term. You might also say ‘helpful and ‘viable’. I wish that I could agree with you, because agreements lead to being able to work together and are more harmonious”
Aha! I did not disagree with your premise, as you seem to believe here. I simply said ‘it is not useful – productive – viable- if I wish to debate such subjects from within America. The left has burned this to the ground, no stone left upon another, and salted the earth on this topic. I am not *allowed* to have a ‘white identity’ if I wish to effect change, at this point in time. As such, (and as I believe you have found) it also prevents your ideas from coming across. The filters are too great, even on my side of the fence. Therefore, I proceed from the ground upon which I can stand: constitutionality, equal justice, and a sensitive bullshit meter. You might gain greater discourse here at EA if you do the same, no matter how your ‘meta’ ideology might influence your remarks. For what that is worth.
America has a culture, despite what progressives (who hold most of the platforms from which to speak) would have you believe. It has grown from the hard scrabble Depression era through Industrial expansion post WW2, and is in decline today due to Marxist attack.
America, like the English language itself, as always absorbed ideas, cultures, and technologies that were useful to support economic, cultural, and national growth. This is the melting pot in truest form, overcoming parochial bias to glean good where possible. This is, in my opinion, the largest failing of Europe in particular, and in the world generally. At its heart, tribalism has been the de facto condition of international politics since nations came into being. Larger national identity allows for growth beyond limitations and control created by those who wish power. I posit an example from the recent all-but-destruction of OPEC.
OPEC ruled the western democracies for decades. America tied her hands behind her back (thanks to useful idiots) during that time, and her economy was stifled. Then a new technology found ways to get around the self imposed limitations (fracking) and oil is suddenly abundant. America exports oil today. Our reserves are greater than anywhere on the planet, with this new method of extraction. We grew beyond the control of OPEC and our own politicians.
This is, at the heart, why tribalism is being pushed here: it gives the Establishment, the Aristocracy (if you will) power and wealth. To my mind, every country on earth is run by a relatively small, elite group for their own ends. Power for the masses is an illusion, at best a facade to placate them, at worst a naked dictatorship like North Korea or China. This has become more true in America over the past few decades (as you have noted before) and is why the surprise election of an outsider as POTUS has caused such a remarkable reaction (temper tantrum) from the Elite. Their power is threatened by the light of day.
“This is why when I speak of ‘conservatism’ I am speaking to something that extends beyond American conservatism of a Washingtonian or Jeffersonian sort.”
As a conservative, if we can get to Washingtonian or Jeffersonian first, (retaking lost ground) what lies beyond is open for debate and discussion.
Slick writes: Aha! I did not disagree with your premise, as you seem to believe here. I simply said ‘it is not useful – productive – viable- if I wish to debate such subjects from within America. The left has burned this to the ground, no stone left upon another, and salted the earth on this topic. I am not *allowed* to have a ‘white identity’ if I wish to effect change, at this point in time. As such, (and as I believe you have found) it also prevents your ideas from coming across. The filters are too great, even on my side of the fence. Therefore, I proceed from the ground upon which I can stand: constitutionality, equal justice, and a sensitive bullshit meter. You might gain greater discourse here at EA if you do the same, no matter how your ‘meta’ ideology might influence your remarks. For what that is worth.
It is worth a great deal and I very much appreciate that you take the time to write out your thoughts!
It is common in my case, when I come into a given space like a blog or forum, to exchange a few comments and to be (often) completely and *mercillesly* condemned. It happened here right at the beginning and I got *branded*. Where this doesn’t happen, of course, is in those spaces where I am participating with the ‘already converted’ so to speak.
I see this blog as situated very much in a center. Being here has helped me to understand many different things about ‘the American center’. To be frank I tend to gain more from opposition than from agreement. I would rather be opposed (as you oppose certain things about America as you write out your vision) than agreed with. Unfortunately, silence is what I mostly end up with. There is really no way around this. Because even if I didn’t accentuate ‘white identity’ and ‘European identitarianism’ they would get me when I show I don’t follow the party line about ‘Americanism’, or when I speak about an ‘American Walmart culture’. But it gets even worse when I speak against the poisonous Zionism that has really got a grip on people. But here is the key to understanding what I do and why: I have resolved to focus atttention in every forbidden area. It is the ‘forbidden area’ that most interests me. This did not come about exactly voluntarily. It is really part-and-parcel of my upbringing, and thus my personality.
I accept as true what you are saying to me: to speak from a position as a ‘White Identitarian’ will inevitably provoke a reaction. Yet I have come to accept it. There are advantages to the disadvantages of my position.
Over time and in other places, perhaps, I will be able to respond more to your observation about ‘tribalism’.
Alizia, my analogy of current revisionists to Soviet malicious uses of revisionism may be too simple, but it effectively makes the point. If you can rewrite history you can create an illusion and control the framing of the argument for what sort of future we wish to have. That is incredibly powerful.
Conducting an objective content analysis of text book changes and news coverage should be enough to scare the hell out of anyone regardless of ideology, if they can look reality in the eye. (Yes, I know there is a measure of subjectivity to reality and consequently history.)
Oh it was not too simple, it was good.
I attempted to turn it around and apply it to ‘our’ situation. If I have read my Orwell correctly the larger meaning is that in war and crisis and when the military and industrial interests succeed with all their machinations, that truth, objectivity and honesty are all threatened. We end up feeding ourselves from out of the same trough of lies where the lies we told our enemies were fabricated and fed to the populations that had to be roused to fight them.
My assertion is that this describes an ‘infection’ and the infection requires a cure, even a drastic one. Part of the way that I understand the present is through this assumption: that military and industrial powers have subverted the country. It is that simple really, I mean as a description.
This has to be spoken about, brought out for conversation, not by Leftists or Progressive-Radicals but by Conservatives.
They won’t and they don’t for reasons I cannot as yet fathom. And there is a great deal more that they do not stand up about.
…but no comment on my explanation of Conservatism ala’ Americana? See above
See above you as well! 😉
I’m curious…I assume you don’t think troughs of lies are the exclusive domain of industrialists and militarists, right? Most peoples, even ancient ones with only oral traditions, tell themselves stories or lies or legends to explain or justify their past and/or plans for the future absent the corruption of power. It appears to me it is the natural salve of the human psyche individual or social. Perhaps I misunderstand.
On the lighter side, what is your opinion of history as cartoonish entertainment, like “Voyagers” or “Quantum Leap?”
After the celebration of a fictional mass murderer (“Sweeney Todd”), the logical next step. No coincidence that Weidman also wrote the book for another free & easy treatment of history, “Pacific Overtures.” “Assassins” is the only Sondheim musical I’ve passed on, back when I attended theater. Today it’s almost an X-game of an art form, a mindless spectacle, signifying nothing.
Back in the day, historical memory used to last one generation or business cycle. In today’s internet & social media world, I’d say it’s no more than 5 years. Fake news serves as Orwell’s “memory hole.”
I wondered if you had ever reviewed the show. I also wonder what the Japanese think of “Pacific Overtures.”
I saw the 2005 Signature production, with Donna Migliaccio as reciter. That was strange, but kind of in keeping with the production, which was updated for the aughts. It was an OK show. Listening to a cast recording on Tidal last night, though, the score sounded lame & derivative of Sondheim’s better, earlier work. Puccini it was not. Regarding the Japanese, it says in my 2000 something cast recording notes that they loved it the production when it was staged there. I can believe, since they love everything Western & are good-spirited about these kind of liberties taken with performing arts.
you put the onus of educating the people of the USA on a musical?
I think this is a flawed premise. Don’t be angry on the writers and performers, blame the educational system that there are so many audience members unfamiliar with American history and its dark corner containing Presidential assassins
If the visitors of this musical were well educated, they wouldn’t ‘learn’ that …Nobody knows why actor John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln. It may have been “bad reviews.”
Just as nobody (probably / hopefully) ‘learned’ that all assassins showed up in the book depository to persuade Oswald to kill JFK.
If I look at the picture you inserted at the top I don’t expect an accurate historical show.
But unfortunately that’s how it’s understood. Take JFK the movie, which got “raves” in 1991, received 8 AA nominations & is rated fresh (80s) by Rotten Tomatoes. It was presented an “alternative to the Warren Commission,” by one local movie reviewer.
As an aside, I first because doubtful about the role of “education” during the nuclear energy debate in the early 80s. No amount of education regarding risks or basic radiation science could sway the committed to abolishing this energy source.
Most of these hot button issues are analyzed at the emotional level or not analyzed at all. Only if self-directed or supervised by someone using a critical thinking approach can it be successful. Conspiracy theories, which cannot either be proved or disproved, continue as the default method of explanation for complex processes which must be rejected by “most of the people, most of the time.”
People-intelligent people- still regard the JFK movie as fact, and are not only convinced that Oswald didn’t shoot JFK, but that only idiots think he did.
Ahhh, the magic bullet theory… the coverup friend.
People -intelligent people- know that ballistics don’t work that way, and that JFK has at least two weapons trained on him that day.
I visited the site last summer, and was impressed with the museum. The detail, while pandering to JFK, does allow one to draw the conclusion Oswald was not the only shooter.
Do they let you vote, in a museum-friendly, egalitarian way? If you visit the National Archives you may come away with the view that the key documents that formed the basis of our nation, were established for victims. This is one takeaway from billionaire David Rubenstein’s recent makeover.