The Left, in a nutshell.
These aren’t oil-patch newsletters or cookery magazines that find themselves sideswiped after carelessly dabbling in an issue that’s of no particular relevance to them and decide to cut their losses before it leads to advertiser boycotts and falling stock prices. Both magazines pride themselves in being dedicated to the craft of writing and were addressing the central question of what it is a writer is free to write about. To me the only answer to that is: Everything. To Messrs Kay and Niedzviecki’s bosses the answer is something far more mean and shriveled.
As the bestselling novelist Lionel Shriver put it when I interviewed her on this subject a couple of months back:
I have so little time for the concept of cultural appropriation, meaning that, as it applies to my occupation, you don’t have the right to assume that you know what it’s like to be someone other than yourself. Which is what fiction writers do.
Exactly so. As I said to Lionel:
Rudyard Kipling can write Indian and English characters, and Salman Rushdie can write Indian and English characters, and may the best man win.
But even to have to point that out is a defeat: As we agreed, the minute you have to state something so butt-numbingly obvious as that Shakespeare wasn’t a Prince of Denmark or a Moor of Venice, you’ve lost. We’ve all lost. We’re in a mad world, where it seems entirely normal for literary magazines to rule on what fictional characters a novelist is permitted to conceive.
As it happens, there’s one almighty cultural appropriation going on right now. Indeed, it’s a heist. The United Kingdom has become the acid-attack capital of the world. Female genital mutilation is practiced in “medical” clinics from Michigan to Melbourne. The taharrush has spread to Cologne and other Central European cities. Ritual beheading has come to French Catholic churches and upstate New York. And if you protest, “Look, I totally deplore all this cultural appropriation. I think it’s outrageous that Britain and America and Australia and Europe are culturally appropriating acid attacks and FGM and beheading and honor killings”, you’re told, “No, no. That’s diversity. It’s vibrant. What’s not to enjoy? It’s a beautiful mélange – just like this new Homeland Security proposal to ban laptops from cabin baggage on translatlantic flights, because a western cultural artifact is being appropriated and weaponized in the cause of eastern jihadism. What a rich cultural co-mingling…”
Jonathan Kay thinks I’m a bit boorish and vulgar when I go on about such things. So I was hoping someone would maybe write a novel or make a film about it.
But that novel can never be written – because, under Writers’ Union of Canada logic, only a Muslim could write it. Because in a vibrant diverse world, the one place that can’t be diverse and vibrant is a work of art.
There’s no internal consistency, no logic, no philosophical principle here. Only – as two Canadian editors learned last week – the brute power of a totalitarian left ever more inimical to the only diversity that matters: diversity of thought, diversity of expression.
Thereby demonstrating once again, as if any further examples were needed: they aren’t liberal, in any traditionally accepted sense of the term. They long ago hijacked that word for their own nefarious purposes; no part of its original meaning or dignity applies to them in any conceivable way, which is why they stole it. They’re fucking fascists. Cut and dried, plain and simple, full stop, end of story.
The best part, though, is how this so perfectly highlights the question posed by the cognitive dissonance weighing down Progressivism like an anchor: where, exactly, does “diversity” end, and “cultural appropriation” begin? The handful among them capable of rational thought, possessed of the tiniest shred of integrity, should answer: “Right down the middle of those precious urban ethnic restaurants I’m so fond of—and from which I of right ought to be banned.” Just for starters.
None of us should be holding our breath waiting for them to think it through.