When “shock value” is the only value left.
Early in the Netflix series called Babylon Berlin, set in Germany in 1929, the police vice squad raids the studio of a pornographic film company. At first, we hear only the off-camera voice of the director speaking to “Mary,” “Joseph,” the “shepherds,” and so on—and, for a second, we infer that it is a rehearsal for a school Christmas pageant.
Then the camera, following the police officers, enters the studio to disclose the pale, naked bodies of actors engaged in an orgy in a manger—coupling in the fashion of barnyard animals, as the director calls out instructions and encouragement.
The scene is not just a travesty of the Nativity but a travesty of blasphemy itself—and, somewhere beyond that, a comment on a style of German transgressiveness so naïve and humorless and boorish and literal-minded (almost moronic) as to be…not innocent, exactly, but bovine, a little too dumb to arouse an intelligent person’s indignation. One feels disgust, but it is not directed at the religious transgression; rather, one is overwhelmed by the depressing, over-the-top stupidity of it all, the squalor. The vice squad officers, all business and a little bored, take the scene as a matter of course. These are the polluted waters of their culture. This is their swamp. (Weimar Germany was a prequel, needless to say.)
It’s possible to have a similar reaction to aspects of America in 2018.
An understatement if ever there was one.
Leading universities have turned themselves into hybrids of Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood and Mao’s Red Guards. They have become madrassas of identity politics, given over to dogmatism, indoctrination, the coddling of grievance, and the encouragement and manipulation of neurotic youthful insecurities for the purpose of consolidating political power. The effects of travesties being committed on American campuses, where the mind of the hard Left is embedded in faculties, administrations, and boards of overseers, will be felt for generations. The damage may be irreparable.
Consider the comedy of the pronouns, which is symptomatic—and hilarious, if you can stand it. In the Alice in Wonderland of academe, pronouns are deemed to be discretionary. A person may choose a unique pronoun (“ahi,” “her,” or “Gloria Swanson,” or “John Foster Dulles” —up to you, precious: we leave the choice to your iridescent narcissism).
This is a travesty of the sanctity of the person and of individual freedom. It is not social justice but vandalism of the language—self-obsession carried beyond the reach of parody. It is the sort of mischief that children do when they have no parents worthy of the name; universities make a wicked travesty of the idea of in loco parentis.
“Vandalism of the language” indeed. But in his eagerness to avoid declaring, as he puts it, “which side is responsible for what has gone wrong in our culture and politics,” Morrow passes right by the fact that this vandalism is not something done randomly or unawares—that it is part of a larger Leftist strategy to vandalize the entire culture, in a long-term quest to bring America That Was crashing down and tumbling into the arms of global Marxism at long last, and for good.
Where, after all, has nearly every nonsensical perversion of language you can think of originated if not with the Left? The sowing of confusion and doubt by distorting the very words we speak—eliminating old ones, coining new ones, and rendering long-accepted meanings of others into their exact opposite—is a tactic used by both Hitler and Stalin in their day, to great effect.
Example: “assault weapon,” a meaningless drivel-salad invented by the gun-grabber Left to link perfectly ordinary semi-automatic rifles with assault rifles for the purpose of frightening and misleading the ignorant into supporting tight restrictions and eventually a ban on them. The spurious definition of “assault weapon” is based entirely on cosmetic appearance and not function; it is pure manipulation, propaganda and nothing whatsoever more.
The most shocking aspect, though, is not that the Left did it, but that they did it so successfully. The term is now thoroughly embedded in American culture; even 2A supporters use it, in dismaying numbers. And it’s nothing but manufactured horseshit.
That’s just one example. There are others related to firearms, and way, way more just about any and everywhere else you look—far too many to be comprehensively cataloged. The Left’s reduction of so much of plain language into near-gibberish would have to be one of their greatest success stories, in truth. “Tolerance”? “Diversity”? “Dissent”? “Patriotic”? “Brave”? “Heroic”? “Rape”? “Freedom”? “Truth”? Good Lord, even the word “liberal” itself has come to mean the precise opposite of what it once did.
None of which even begins to address the forced conversion of perfectly acceptable words like “handicapped” into clumsy, insulting pabulum like “differently abled”; “heterosexual” into “cisgendered”; “Negro” into “person of color,” and so on and on. Don’t even get me started on bland, neutered tripe like “Congressperson” or “waitron” or “chairperson.” I’m suspicious of the morphing of “secretary” into “administrative assistant,” “employment office” into “human resources department,” and “boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/husband/shackjob” into “life partner,” but I can’t prove anything. Yet.
Thankfully, the Marines decided not to go with “rifleperson” or “infantryperson” in the end, after paroxysms of indignation from disgusted leathernecks who must have suddenly found themselves wondering what the hell they signed up for in the first place. The Corps end up bowing pretty deeply to political correctness, though, just not quite all the way to the ground. Yet.
The lowering of Marine CET physical fitness requirements to accommodate female “Marine” Mass Organized Conflict Facilitator Persons who can’t hack the program is another matter. Well, actually, no, it really isn’t. It’s another surge of the same old Dismal Tide inundating sanity, reality, and common sense while undermining the effective defense of this nation. Which, hey, for a Progtard, what’s not to like?
In the interest of comity, however, could we at least all agree to stop referring to Muslims as a “race”? I know it’s a bridge way too far to expect any acknowledgment that skepticism about the wisdom of admitting hordes of them into the country with no expectation of either assimilation or allegiance—skepticism informed by knowledge of Muslim history, present-day proclivities, and clearly stated intentions—can NOT reasonably be denounced as either “Islamophobia” or “racism” with any real fairness, and don’t ask it of anyone.
While we’re on race, “Asian,” “black,” and “Hispanic” are ethnicities; not one of them is really a “race.” I still prefer “Indian” or “American Indian” to “Native American,” although I acknowledge that it’s sloppy and off-base. Plus some of the Native Americans themselves seem a bit tetchy about it, so I’m willing to go along to get along there. On the other hand, I’d love to see “African-American” shitcanned entirely. Dammit, you can be one or the other, but you can’t be both. Pick one and get on with your life. If you go around wearing African tribal garb but you were born and raised here and neither you, your parents, nor your grandparents have ever so much as vacationed in Africa, you’re a pretentious phony, or at best deeply confused. But you ain’t African. Sorry.
“Hooker” or “prostitute” into “sex worker”, “stripper” into “exotic dancer,” “porn star” into “adult film actress”? Eh, thanks, but no thanks. Not ones that rankle me greatly, mind, but I figured I’d go ahead and throw ’em out there.
When they start demanding we all refer to “Cajuns” as “linguistically-enhanced sobriety-challenged Bayou persons,” I’m getting off the damned bus. But Cajuns are more or less white, so Proggies probably won’t care much about renaming them.
All things considered, it’s a travesty, is what it is.