Friday Ethics Dry-Off, 6/11/2021: Apple Pie, The Duke, “Lillibet,” The “Only If You’re The Right Kind Of Black Caucus” And Shut Up, Donald

It’s raining like crazy here, so…

1. And now for something completely stupid…Poe’s Law is getting a workout as The Great Stupid heads into its final stage, and I have to discipline myself not to write about too many episodes like this one, which once would have been regarded as parody because it would have been parody. Raj Patel, an apparent communist, explains in this unhinged piece by The Guardian about “food injustice,” that the apple pie is a symbol of American imperialism and white supremacy, like this…

Not that apples are particularly American….Apples traveled to the western hemisphere with Spanish colonists in the 1500s in what.. is now better understood as a vast and ongoing genocide of Indigenous people….

Not that the recipe for apple pie is uniquely American….By the time the English colonized the new world, apple trees had become markers of civilization, which is to say property….John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, took these markers of colonized property to the frontiers of US expansion where his trees stood as symbols that Indigenous communities had been extirpated.

Not that the gingham on which our apple pie rests is uniquely American….this war capitalism enslaved and committed acts of genocide against millions of Indigenous people in North America, and millions of Africans and their descendants through the transatlantic slave trade. In the process, cotton laid the basis of finance, police and government that made the United States.

Since this is quite a lot to acknowledge, it is easier to misremember. In the drama of nationalist culture, the bloody and international origins of the apple pie are subject to a collective amnesia.

This, though extreme, is the weaponization of the cognitive dissonance scale that has become a prime part of the strategy to unmake the United States, cancel its freedoms, and turn its values inside out. Consistent with Critical Race Theory, literally everything in our culture, including the best and most innocent of it, must be traced to something evil.

Even apple pie. Conservative websites are having fun mocking this article. They are foolish. Patel is deadly serious, and our children will be taught this perspective unless there is relentless resistance.

2. John Wayne died on this date in 1979. “The Duke” had the biggest impact on American culture and ethics of any performer; there really isn’t anyone close. And it was a positive impact; John Wayne (really Marion Morrison) the man is an interesting subject, but what mattered was his art. He dedicated his career to portraying the independent American male individualist with all his virtues and flaws, aided by some of the greatest film-makers in Hollywood history, notably John Ford and Howard Hawks. Even before Hollywood took its disastrous turn to the hard Left, Wayne suffered because of the enmity liberals and the academic elite held (and hold) toward the core American values that Wayne’s characters, often incompletely, tried to embody. Pauline Kael, much idolized as a film critic (I detested her), refused to do anything but ridicule Wayne’s performances out of pure political bias. For me, especially as I became more experienced as a stage director, Wayne’s acting impressed me more the more I watched him, and I have watched him more than I have watched anyone.

There has been an effort of late to “cancel” the Duke, but they’ll have more luck with apple pie. The John Wayne character remains strong, inspiring, and complex. Over 40 years after his death, Wayne’s movies are still featured on TV regularly; no actor made more great ones, and the good ones are still entertaining. My favorites? “Stagecoach” (of course), “Red River,” “Rio Bravo”, “She Wore A Yellow Ribbon,” “The Searchers,” “Hondo,” “True Grit”, “The Quiet Man,” and “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence,” with Hawks’ “Hatari!” as a special guilty pleasure.

I miss him. America misses him.

3. Speaking of people I wish I could miss, some spam in my inbox says that Donald Trump is launching a new social media platform. Great…just what the nation needs, a former President with a fanatic following attacking a President from the sidelines.

This is one democratic norm you can’t blame Trump for wrecking, but I can and will blame him for escalating it. Only a few past Presidents have been so reckless as to snipe at a POTUS regularly, one being Teddy Roosevelt, the Great Narcissist. Almost all of the others followed George W. Bush’s creed, which is that being President is tough enough without having to deal with such attacks. It’s basic Golden Rule ethics. Trump, however, who suffered more such sniping than any President in a century (from Obama, who was bitter), has already surpassed any other ex-, including Teddy, in tossing verbal grenades I know Trump actually believes that two wrongs make a right, and the Golden Rule never crosses his mind, but nonetheless, former Presidents should let current Presidents do their job—which is what Donald Trump was not allowed to do.

4. News Flash! The unethical Congressional Black Caucus is unethical! Proof, I suppose, that Congress is racist is the fact that a disproportionate number of members of the CBC are investigated for ethics violations, as the Caucus itself operates like a racket. It’s also racist in concept and execution: being black to the CBC means supporting the progressive agenda, you know, like Joe Biden said: you can’t be really black and not follow the progressive lock-step. Thus this was fully predictable: Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) has been excluded from the Congressional Black Caucus, though he is black and in Congress, and the other qualifying freshman lawmakers were accepted into into the group six months ago.

Rep. Burgess Owens (R-Ut.), the only other black GOP lawmaker in the House and a fellow freshman, decided not to try to join the CBC. I think that reflects well on him. [Pointer: JuGory]

5. Ick. Not ethics, but still: Harry and Meg’s name for their daughter (Lillibet Diana) sets new records for public pandering. After insulting the Royal Family by accusing it of being racist in its treatment of the celebrity-obsessed breakaway duchess, the pair tried a double suck-up by expropriating the Queen’s childhood nickname (from when she couldn’t pronounce “Elizabeth”) and tacking on homage to Harry’s idolized mother. Now there’s a controversy over whether the Queen was consulted, as Harry and Meghan claim, with the two semi-royals threatening to sue the BBC for saying she was not. ““Shocking behaviour and all about getting their own back. Queen said can’t use titles to make money but she has no control over a nickname. They will milk it,” Windsors biographer Angela Levin tweeted.

This fun couple can’t do anything right, first, because everything they do will be criticized anyway, and second, because they can’t do anything right.

Watch them try to trademark “Lillibet”…

14 thoughts on “Friday Ethics Dry-Off, 6/11/2021: Apple Pie, The Duke, “Lillibet,” The “Only If You’re The Right Kind Of Black Caucus” And Shut Up, Donald

  1. 1. In Fiddler on the Roof Tevye says, “Here in Anatevka, we have traditions for everything: how to how to sleep, how to eat, how to work, how to wear clothes. For instance, we always keep our heads covered, and always wear a little prayer-shawl. This shows our constant devotion to God. You may ask, how did this tradition start? I’ll tell you. I don’t know. But it’s a tradition. And because of our traditions, every one of us knows who he is, and what God expects him to do.” It’s getting to the point where wokeness is going to have its own traditions about everything too – what you can and can’t eat, what you can and can’t wear, what you can and can’t say, what you can and can’t celebrate, and so on. No one will really understand the reasoning behind any of it, but, because it’s a tradition, everyone will know what’s expected of him and how he tells the world he is a good person.

    2. What, McLintock doesn’t make the list?

    3. Unfortunately, that idea is as dead as Julius Caesar. Obama could have zipped it, but he didn’t, now no one else will.

    4. Biden himself said if you didn’t vote Dem “you ain’t black!”

    5. Who says it’s a suck-up to Elizabeth? Just for the record, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s six-year-old daughter, usually just called Princess Charlotte, is Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, honoring both mom and nan. However, the Cambridges had enough wisdom not to put either of those names up front. Now, when Elizabeth II departs to join most of her contemporaries in the Great Beyond, Lilibet will be the one member of the family with her name, or a name like hers, up front, and constantly referenced when anyone talks about the late Queen or her mom Elizabeth the Queen Mother. This is an attempt to grab spotlight, nothing more. I can’t wait to see mom and daughter posing with Kamala Harris – girl of color power!

    • I have no doubt that the name Lillibet is not a suck-up, it’s a fuck-you. Harry and Megan are clearly the kind of trash personalities that would do that.

  2. Conservative websites are having fun mocking this article. They are foolish. Patel is deadly serious, and our children will be taught this perspective unless there is relentless resistance

    But ridicule and resistance are not mutually exclusive. Much of this foolishness is simply leftist elites trying to show off how much smarter, how much more moral they are than the groundlings. Ridicule must be used to take that from them. Don’t just voice your opposition, make it clear you see them for the nasty, amoral imbeciles that they insist on making themselves. Make sure that when they walk down the street, they know everybody is laughing at them behind their backs, from their neighbors to the Amazon delivery guy.

  3. Regarding 3, I think Trump sniping at Biden is a bit more complex than the former President sniping at the current one. So far as I can tell, Trump fully intends to run for President again next term. I don’t think he sees this as a former President sniping at the current one, but rather as a campaign for his next run for President. Everyone running for President against an opposition party snipes at the current President. It’s what they are campaigning on. That the other party is bad, doing bad things, and needs to be thrown out for the bad things they are doing.

    If you look at this as a Presidential campaign, what he is doing makes sense. He needs to test whether or not he can overcome his being banned from social media and still get his message out. I don’t think he can. The tech oligarchs and the media have conspired to prevent him from successfully running again, and I think they have succeeded.

    Whether or not Trump ought to run again is a different question, which I remain undecided on. I lean towards thinking he shouldn’t, but it remains to be seen if anyone else will be viable. I don’t believe anyone on the right has a shot of ever becoming viable for the following reasons.

    Currently, the media/tech conspiracy seems like it is too strong a force to overcome, by anyone. The left is the only side allowed to have a voice. No competing ideas are allowed to be heard. Trump developed a massive following because people agreed with his message. The left considers that to be unacceptable, and something to be prevented at all costs from ever happening again. No one else from the right is ever going to be allowed to talk to the people without massive interference from tech and media again. It is unlikely that people other than Trump would be able to be heard by a large enough audience to garner even similar levels of support to him, much less higher levels. Viability in this sense is just a measure of who will have a shot at being heard.

    RINOs and never Trumpers are the only ones on the right who will be allowed a voice. No one on either side likes their message. They aren’t viable. Trump has a voice, but it has been stifled, is fading, and a lot of people found it obnoxious. I don’t think he is viable. No one with the right temperament and message is going to be allowed a voice to carry their message. There is DeSantis, who I think has the right temperament and message to be viable, but the media is already out to destroy him, and the tech oligarchs will put their finger on the scale to crush him if he runs.

    Basically, sniping is about all anyone has left to do. So what difference does it make.

    • Spot on, N.P. Bravo.

      I found the idea of Trump running for a Congressional seat and becoming Speaker in 2022 hilarious but intriguing. “Hello, Nancy.”

  4. For many year I didn’t enjoy many John Wayne movies, except for Stagecoach. But, then I watched The Searchers as an adult. Ethan Edwards wasn’t the cardboard cut-out that I expected. This was a deeply flawed man, with layers of pain, who has an Cpt. Ahab level of obsession. His transformation didn’t come quickly or easily. It honestly impacted my viewing of all John Wayne films.

    Recently I watched The Sands of Iwo Jima. Wayne’s portrayal of Sergeant John Stryker held those same nuances. The character had pain and a sense of purpose beyond himself. What could have been a simple war film was elevated by Wayne.

  5. John Wayne would probably cancelled in an instant today, and blacklisted from Hollywood. I suspect that will even happen post mortem, even if it hasn’t yet. But I understand completly why you wish he was still around. And I’m sure he could handle it.

    Megan’s feckless milquetoast of a boy toy is a blight on his family’s name that will be hard to overcome. Maybe it shouldn’t be overcome — perhaps the English monarchy has outlived it’s familial cohesion. I hate to see traditions like that die, but Harry is such an embarrassment I find myself praying for Queen Elizabeth and her sanity.

    As for the CBC, well, as I like to say, “I got nothing.” They should change their name, it is a false advertisement as is. Congressional Black Democrat Caucus is what it is, and has been for decades.

  6. 2. My dad does NOT like John Wayne as an actor at all…and it’s my dad’s only fault. I used to record every John Wayne I could find on TV, so I’ve probably seen 50 or so. You mentioned several of my favorites, but I would add “The Sons of Katie Elder” and “They Were Expendable” (starring along side Robert Montgomery). Both are very good. I happen to think “The War Wagon” (starring with Kirk Douglas) is really entertaining as well.

    Wayne had a wealth of one-liners and my favorite is appropriate for us today: “Life is tough, but it’s tougher when you’re stupid.”

    There’s even a (very) minor family connection: my uncle – who served in the Air Force – told me he flew John around in a C-130 during filming of “The Green Berets“. In the movie, there’s a scene where John steps off the back of the plane…the pilot in the front was my uncle. I wasn’t there to verify, but who am I doubt my uncle?

    • I held myself to 10. “They were Expendable” and “The Sand of Iwo Jima” just missed, as did “El Dorado,” “The War Wagon,” “The Shootist,” “The Cowboys,” “McQ”, “The Alamo,” and “McClintock.”

      • End-of-pandemic doldrums have resulted in me watching El Dorado probably half-a-dozen times this year. The movie gives off a feeling that everyone had a great time making it, so much so that some very unusual casting, hokey stunts, and occasionally bizarre dialogue become charming.

        • Also one of the few post Rifleman roles for Johnny Crawford, who just died. Arthur Honeycutt is a poor substitute for Walter Brennan, but its version of the Rio Bravo bar scene is hilarious, and Mitchum and the Duke make a great team.

  7. I am always amazed at the myopic perspectives of people like Raj Patel

    Western European culture along with many others who have contributed to the development of the US is routinely condemned as colonial oppression but cannot seem to see that their own open borders philosophy in which POC’s from other lands come to the US to exploit resource opportunities and send much of the acquired wealth back home is exactly the definition of colonialism.

    It seems to me that if 100,000 Guatamalans seek asylum in the US each month whereby the US citizens are compelled to feed, house, clothe and provide medical care to them that is resource exploitation and when the numbers grow large enough they can enslave the indigenous populations to provide perpetual care for the preferred demographic group.

    • POC’s from other lands [coming] to the US to exploit resource opportunities and send much of the acquired wealth back home is exactly the definition of colonialism.

      Brilliant, C.M.

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