I was musing early yesterday about whether calling the current reaction/over-reaction/ exploitation/ “Hey great now we can do all kinds of stuff because nobody will dare say no to us!” to the George Floyd video a “freakout” was excessively denigrating it, trivializing or misrepresenting it. I decided it was all three. By the end of yesterday, I realized I was wrong.
I’ll still use the “George Floyd Ethics Train Wreck” tag on posts emanating from this madness, but ethics train wrecks, situations where virtually anyone who gets involved instantly engages in unethical conduct, are more rational than ethics freakouts, which are almost entirely fueled by emotion, hysteria, hate, present time perspective, and mob mentality.
I haven’t used the description often here, but looking back through the lens of history, I’d list among past freakouts the Salem witch trials, the French Revolution and “The Terror,” World War I, the Holocaust, and the U.S.’s ” Red Scare.” There are others; I’m not looking to compile the definitive list. The definition of a freakout, as opposed to a an ethics train wreck, is partially that once the fever has passed, virtually everyone looks back on the event and thinks, “What the hell? How did that happen? What was wrong with those people?” The other distinguishing factor is that while wise members of a society will contend with each other during an ethics train wreck and try to stop the runaway train, the tendency of the un-freaked during a freakout is to try to keep their heads down, avoid making eye contact, and if confronted with one of the raving, just nod and mutter, “Sure. Whatever you say.”
THAT, as the partial list above demonstrates, is a dire mistake. Ethics freakouts get people killed, and do damage to lives and society that can take decades to repair.
Like “The Perfect Storm,” which arose when multiple meteorological phenomena converged by random chance, most freakouts, and certainly this one, arise from unlucky collisions of largely unrelated trends and events, including other ethics train wrecks. The George Floyd freakout had more ingredients than most, including the bizarre lockdown due to the pandemic, the increasing frustration of the Left over its inability to bring down President Trump, the expanding power of social media and its ability to bully and terrorize, and the transformation of the news media into an irresponsible propaganda force driven by greed and arrogance rather than professional ethics. Among the ethics train wrecks that carried participants to this freakout are the 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck, the Confederate Statuary Ethics Train Wreck, the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman Ethics Train Wreck (and its offspring, the Ferguson Ethics Train Wreck), the Obama Administration Ethics Train Wreck, the Trump Impeachment Ethics Train Wreck, and the Trump Presidency Ethics Train Wreck. Again, it’s an incomplete list.
The last 72 hours have given us quite a few freakout symptoms. Among them was the “cancellation” of a hapless CW actor based on meaningless tweets he made six or more years ago. Of course, this was completely cruel and unfair, and to a culture not in the throes a freakout, would be obviously so. Here are some of the others, with comments:
- The Paramount Network cancelled “Cops,” thus accepting as not deranged the deranged suggestion of a Washington Post op-ed writer that all TV shows about police should be cancelled. I saw this coming, as did many others, for “Cops” is low-hanging fruit, a repetitious reality show that does less to glorify police than it does to show the seamy trailer park side of lower-class America, where fat guys hang out shirtless getting stones and nobody can speak English properly.
Like so many of the responses in the George Floyd Freakout, however, cancelling “Cops” is just a mindless insult to police officers inflicted to kowtow to the mob. The cancellation puts many people out of work, but they are just collateral damage to Paramount. What’s important is signaling the company’s virtue to the mob, hoping that their heads don’t end up in a basket.
- HBO Max removed Gone With the Wind less than two weeks after the new platform launched. The explanation from HBO Max is embarrassing:
Gone With the Wind is a product of its time and depicts some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that have, unfortunately, been commonplace in American society. These racist depictions were wrong then and are wrong today, and we felt that to keep this title up without an explanation and a denouncement of those depictions would be irresponsible.
The statement literally says that any past representation of a racist society in fiction must be “denounced” any time it is presented or mentioned. This move is also not much of a surprise; woke critics have been clamoring for censorship of GWTW for decades. I regard one’s reaction to the film as both an IQ test and a challenge to align priorities rationally, as well as see what is in front of one’s eyes rather than what one is being commanded to see. The film is culturally and artistically important in too many ways to list. It has iconic scenes and dialogue, and some of the best performances in Hollywood history. Among the best of the best—and certainly my favorite— is the performance of Hattie McDaniel as Mammy, which won her the first Academy Award ever given to a black performer. Mammy is the smartest, wisest, most admirable character in the whole movie, an odd feature for a film that is supposed to be irredeemably racist. The South’s slavery-dependent society gets crushed in the movie. Moreover, if depicting prejudices tickets a cultural work for censorship, what will save “To Kill A Mockingbird,” “The Heat of the Night,” or “Porgy and Bess”?
“Blazing Saddles” and “Airplane” are obviously out.
Two bits of irony: Today is Hattie McDaniel’s birthday. We could be celebrating a ground-breaking African-American actress whom the typical angry protester never heard of, and instead we are seeing an effort to bury her most important work.
The other irony is that “Gone With The Wind” has important lessons to teach that might moderate the freakout. After the young daughter of Rhett Butler and Scarlet O’Hara is killed when she falls off her pony, Rhett, mad with grief, kills the pony.
That’s an excellent analogy for the entire George Floyd Freakout.
- After movies and TV shows will be books, of course. Book burnings have arisen out of past freakouts: a few days ago, NPR allowed Juan Vidal, its “cultural critic,” to tell us that we are racist because of the books we read. He writes in part,
“You may have seen the phrase “decolonize your bookshelf” floating around. In essence, it is about actively resisting and casting aside the colonialist ideas of narrative, storytelling, and literature that have pervaded the American psyche for so long. If you are white, take a moment to examine your bookshelf. What do you see? What books and authors have you allowed to influence your worldview, and how you process the issues of racism and prejudice toward the disenfranchised? Have you considered that, if you identify as white and read only the work of white authors, you are in some ways listening to an extension of your own voice on repeat? While the details and depth of experience may differ, white voices have dominated what has been considered canon for eons. That means non-white readers have had to process stories and historical events through a white author’s lens.”
Just for giggles, I picked a shelf at random in our library, and immediately encountered “The Autobiography of Malcolm X,” Sun Tsu’s “The Art of War,” and Richard Wright’s “Native Son.” That was random chance, of course; the vast majority of the books we own are by white authors, I assume. Unlike the race-obsessed (Abraham Maslow, a Jew, observed that “If your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” Is that a less useful observation because he wasn’t black?), I don’t pay much attention to the color of authors, but rather to the content of their character, ideas, and their verbal skills. I had, like my father, greatly enjoyed “The Count of Monte Cristo,” and “The Three Musketeers’ without even realizing that the author, Alexandre Dumas, was black. Does it only count if you know you are reading a black writer?
Another feature of freakouts is strange rules, like “a mass gathering to protest a killing in Minnesota is worth risking the public health, but gatherings for any other purpose, including to protest being prevented from earning a living, is unconscionable and should be illegal.”
Vidal’s screed is a warning of the cultural indoctrination to come if the freakout continues. See Mao’s Cultural Revolution.
- Last night protesters in Richmond pulled down a statue of Christopher Columbus, spray-painted it, set it on fire, and tossed it in a lake. The nexus between George Floyd and discovery of the New World is too attenuated for me; I think the message is “America sucks.” The news report says this happened “after” a peaceful demonstration, another example of the Orwellian language the news media has adopted during the George Floyd Freakout. The Big Lie: any violence or property destruction during a demonstration doesn’t make that protest less peaceful, it’s just separate, that’s all. This makes as much sense as calling the arrest of George Floyd humane and legal, except for the killing thing.
The best example of the current freakout’s deliberate perversion of language still is the news media’s deceitful attempts to claim that “defund the police” doesn’t mean defund the police, which I wrote about in item #2 here.
In a more recent article about this, Dan McLaughlin concludes, “They think we can’t see what they are doing.”
But Dan, if you’re freaking out, you can’t see!
34 thoughts on “Your Morning Ethics Update On The George Floyd Freakout”
Whenever a white person is arrested and the news media reports that material promoting White Supremacy was found in the home, I always wonder if the dude had a copy of “Huckleberry Finn”.
A.M. Golden wrote, “Whenever a white person is arrested and the news media reports that material promoting White Supremacy was found in the home, I always wonder if the dude had a copy of ‘Huckleberry Finn’.”
That’s a really interesting twist, I’d never thought off it that way. How long before the delusional social justice warriors twist all kinds of things into “material promoting White Supremacy”; Bible, Declaration of Independence, United States Constitution, Bill of Rights, JFK’s Inauguration speech, etc, etc..
I recently heard that someone said “Racism isn’t learned. It’s inherited, and consciously or unconsciously passed down through privilege.” The sin of racism is inherited? Of course that’s delusional but that’s exactly what some of the protesters are saying, if you were born white you’re a racist. If you’re what and protesting with black people over the George Floyd killing, then you’re a closet racist – the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; progressives and social justice warriors have already won the battle of the minds. Either a vast majority of the population is willfully consumed by the social justice bull shit or they are in literal fear of it; therefore, our society is screwed. Progressives’ social justice intimidation tactics have won the day.
I say that we’re nearing the brink because I honestly think it’s the truth.
“material” that isn’t identified is, to me, like “sources” or “experts”. Unless you tell me what the material is, I’m going to assume its irrelevance to the matter at hand.
The Left is not only using intimidation tactics to stifle speech but to enact what our host calls, “Force Speech”.
Check out what happens when your social media friends don’t post at all:
Sorry, I meant “Forced Speech”, but, I suppose the Left could have learned the Jedi Mind Trick.
The term of art is “compelled speech.”
I somehow managed to mangle the term…and post with only part of my name.
Batting a thousand today, I am. Thanks for your patience. 🙂
There is a third category: Those that are too busy working, raising children, building and inventing stuff, and doing other constructive things in real time who don’t get caught up in the madness, and disregard political correctness for all its not worth. Those are the silent people whose votes count just as much as the west and east coasters. The Left forgets about them. Witness: 2016. Oops.
“progressives and social justice warriors have already won the battle of the minds” (bold added)
How about: “progressives and social justice warriors have already won the battle of their minds.”
There exist many that occupy a lucid, level-headed demographic.
Recall the comment section of the now defunct Isthmus, which stuck out as a Lefty Rag even in the 77 Square Miles Surrounded By A Sea Of Reality?
It provided a measure of relief (to me leastways) that there were some, if not many, Madisonians who didn’t swallow the Lefty pap whole; jvb refers to a Third Category.
I’m hoping, and somewhat hopeful, THAT demographic will have it’s own CLICK MOMENT; none too soon, mind you.
To paraphrase the Death Of A Salesman character Charley: A Righty Is Got To Dream, Boy!”
It’s McLaughlin, like the McLaughlin group, I actually knew Dan while we were in college. I don’t think he was one of the founders of the conservative Fenwick Review, though.
I’ll fix that. I don’t know where that spelling came from
Didn’t Dan McLaughlin used to comment here? Or is my memory failing me that badly?
Can’t find a record of it.
It would never do for me to pick one of my bookshelves at random. I am too well-organized, all of my black authors are relegated to their own “ghetto-ized” shelf, with these exceptions:
1. John Howard Griffin’s book, Black Like Me is hiding on that shelf (seems appropriate);
2. The black authors have spilled over onto my Irish authors shelf (no worries, they are getting along fine);
3. Then, Asian, Middle-Eastern, etc. authors are generally scattered throughout one or two streams of chronological listings;
4. Or, they could make it onto one of the “This book changed my life” shelves, which Ralph Ellison and Malcolm X would be on if they had not gotten their thematic shelf;
5.You have to go way down into the “Communist Corner” of my bookshelves to find my book of poetry by Chairman Mao;
6. Do the Jews count? (So many good punchlines to that question.) If you throw in Jews as a minority view-point, they show up everywhere (it’s almost insidious), possibly giving you a better than even chance of finding a minority on any given bookshelf of mine.
7. Women? That would probably pick up a shelf or two.
Yes, I have put a lot of thought into this; it is my Zen Garden.
Jut. Jews are not a minority, numbers notwithstanding. They’re sui generis in the SJW categories. Careful. You could get cancelled for suggesting something like Jews are a minority. Quidado.
Yes, there is such a fine line to be walked between Jews are a Minority/Jews control the World.
Exactly. A fine line indeed.
The irony regarding the Columbus statue is that it was once put up by a minority. In 1925 the small Italian-American community in Richmond offered to donate the statue. There was resistance from the city fathers, but ultimately they allowed it, when it was revealed that one of those who spoke in opposition was a KKK member. However, it couldn’t be on Monument Avenue, since it was thought that an Italian and Catholic didn’t belong among the Confederate fathers. Traditionally the Italian-Americans gathered on the eve of Columbus Day by the statue in a celebration of their heritage. I’m guessing that won’t happen this year.
As an Italian-American, I am disgusted by this. It’s just another act of bigotry, but because it’s directed at us, who are considered white (now), it’s all right and even laudable. I’m sure it’s not going to be the first to fall. The Columbus statue in Boston was beheaded, but that’s an easy restoration since they dumped the head right there. This movement is not about George Floyd. It’s not about racism generally, even, it’s about a war on Western society. Seattle has gone even farther than Minneapolis, with a police precinct and the four blocks around it sacked and declared Free Capitol Hill by Antifa and BLM. I said the Troubles were coming again, and it looks like we are here.
“Traditionally the Italian-Americans gathered on the eve of Columbus Day by the statue in a celebration of their heritage. I’m guessing that won’t happen this year.”
I would recommend that you meet at the same place at the same time and do all the same stuff with or without a bronze image of Cristobol Colón in view. It would show great resolve to the thought police that they can take the statues away but they can’t break the will of those who would honor the person.
Tonight AIM and antifa are planning to storm the Minnesota State Capitol tonight and tear down the statue of Columbus there. The governor says state troopers will be there to explain that there is a process to go through. Did he learn nothing from his weak response in Minneapolis? I’d say the troopers will be there and anyone who so much as lays a finger on the pedestal will be arrested. Whatever happened to “if it’s not yours, you don’t take it?”
P.S. They went ahead with it and law enforcement just stood there and watched. Hey, Governor Walz, I’m going to stop by and destroy something else, since you won’t do a thing about it.
Thankfully in NJ the Italian presence is still pretty strong.
Excellent. Perhaps we should descend upon Columbus’s shrine in October and have an impromptu celebration. I can give a speech (probably in really bad Italian) or something.
Steve also wrote,
“This movement is not about George Floyd. It’s not about racism generally, even, it’s about a war on Western society. Seattle has gone even farther than Minneapolis, with a police precinct and the four blocks around it sacked and declared Free Capitol Hill by Antifa and BLM. I said the Troubles were coming again, and it looks like we are here.”
You are absolutely right. This is not about, never has been about, and never will be about, the life and death of George Floyd. It never was about him. This is about wielding/lording political power, pure and simple, over the US. If this were about Black Lives Matter, then the leaders of the movement would be asking why Blacks don’t graduate from high school at the rates of other groups, and why those that do do not have the same level of education as other groups. They would also ask why abortion clinics are more prevalent in Black areas than in other areas of town. They would ask what has caused the disintegration of the Black family unit over the last 60 years and why more than 70% of Black children don’t grow up in a home with a father and a mother. They would also ask who chose their leaders and what criteria were used to select the likes of Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson, etc. They would ask how much money Jackson’s Rainbow/Push Coalition and Sharpton’s National Action Network syphon off of public works projects in minority areas.
I suppose Ben Hur is out. How about White Chicks by the Wayans brothers? I think we might want to revist A&E’s,Drugs Inc. which glorifies black drug dealers and their gang-banger friends. Should Gansta Rap and artists such as Ice T or LL Cool J who now portray cops be thoroughly cancelled by the culture for first depicting black culture as fundamentally a street crime culture and then later as big bad racist cops.
“White face” is still okay, even though clowns scare the hell of me.
From the article, “Sympathizers have described the atmosphere inside the zone as “wonderful” and peaceful, more like a concert than anything else.”
“Absolutely unreal energy there- organizers are protecting the barricades by sitting peacefully. Food, water, ponchos, and medical supplies everywhere. People listening to music and talking. It’s wonderful.”
“Police want you to think that without them there will be chaos. But what if without them there was peace?”
Sounds like Occupy 2020 to me. Can’t believe I have to go to Russia Today to get coverage on this.
Are these woke hippies practicing social distancing or is this another instance in which COVID-19 just dissipates in the sun the way President Trump was mocked for suggesting?
Supposedly the police fled in an “exercise in trust and de-escalation.” I see. So what to do now, let them have their little separate state, or eventually declare the place reclaimed like Zuccotti Park?
Is that the same article that reported homeless people stole . . . erm . . . I mean “were served” . . . food and water meant to be sold to or to be utilized by the autonomists? Yep. You got that right. Food and water deliveries were stolen by homeless people. I guess “autonomous” means something else in Anarchialandia. Organizers put out an emergency call for more food, specifyng vegan and vegan-friendly products. Nice. I don’t know if this is going to post, but here is a twitter post from someone who goes by the twitter name of @anarchomastia complaining that their food was stolen by homeless people:
Didn’t she mention the food needed to be gluten free? I guess that goes without saying. What was I thinking.
“Keep the area operational?” I love the use of military-tinged language. Gotta keep things running smoothly when your an anarchist.
People should read more works written by non-white authors. For starters, the Left should consider reading the New Testament of the Bible.
I would have mentioned that book too, but it was on a different shelf.
That will never happen although Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were Jews and presumably a lot darker than the Romans who were oppressing them. The woke SJWs might learn something about the howling mob screaming “Give us Barbaras!”
You mean Barabbas the insurrectionist?