Alexander Zubatov takes a walk through the Dante’s Hell that is Bill de Blasio’s New York City and reflects on the experience of living in the ruins of a formerly great civiization.
The subway is on the next block, and there should be at least two or three more trains stopping here before the 1 a.m. post-pandemic subway curfew hits. I descend one flight of steps, turn the corner past the curled-up form at their base, take another flight down and arrive at the turnstiles by what I know no name for other than the manned “token booth,” though tokens have not existed in years, the function of dispensing their MetroCard replacements (themselves already on the way out) was ceded to machines long ago and, so far as I can tell, the individual “manning” these booths does little more than grudgingly give out occasional traveling directions. As though to prove the point, a young thug wearing an expensive jacket and sneakers rushes past me and vaults the turnstile, sagging jeans and all, and the bloated woman in the booth sits stone-faced. I flash my hands in a half-hearted “are you really gonna do nothing?” gesture. She fails to manifest so much as recognition.
I turn away, pay my fare, and go through. I think of the politicians who’ve betrayed us, who’ve shamelessly lied to us and told us that punishing fare evasion penalizes poverty, as if it’s the poverty of put-upon unfortunates rather than the apathy of an entire society that has led to a whopping 13.6 percent of subway riders not bothering to pay their fair share, costing the MTA nearly $40 million a year even as it faces a near-unprecedented budget crisis and contemplates fare increases that only we paying customers will have to shoulder.
This is what this entire city, this nation, has become: a shrinking reserve of law-abiding citizens shouldering every burden for a growing mass of fat, lazy leeches, slugs, thugs, gangbangers, rule-breakers, whiners, and perpetual ne’er-do-wells comically beatified by walled-off, gated-away elites who never set foot in the subway and spin out contemporary fantasias on Rousseau’s theme of the “noble savage,” virtuous “oppressed,” “marginalized” and “vulnerable” victims heroically bearing their daily yoke while living in fear of the mythical, perpetual great white crackdown. This is our modern-day version of Joseph Goebbels’ “big lie”—an audacious, supremely ironic, 180-degree reversal of reality that only a well-off, sheltered, would-be white savior could possibly believe, blinded by opaque layers of ideology and inexperience borne of never having walked warily alone through a sketchy urban neighborhood at night.
A moment’s reflection—bolstered, if need be, by reams of statistical data that would only prove the obvious—would reveal that we are the ones living in fear, of course. The chances that an unarmed civilian, regardless of his race, will be brutalized, much less killed, by police is vanishingly low (particularly if he avoids doing the kinds of things that tend to garner police attention) when weighed against the chances that that same blameless civilian passing through the same urban neighborhood will be the victim of a crime.
The biggest duh-story of the past several years that somehow remains less than perfectly apparent to many muddle-headed blatherers today is that the far greater danger all of us face is from criminals, not from cops. But because that simple truism would tend to reverse the racial polarity of the media’s favored narrative, this is not a question facts and science can be brought into the picture to address. To do so would dispel the hysterical conspiracy theories on the Left—“systemic,” “institutional” and/or “structural” racism, “white supremacy” and so forth—that are the equivalent of Trump’s election fraud and his supporters’ Q-Anon conspiracies on the Right.
Michael Anton (famous for the 2016 “Flight 93 Election” essay) reflects on all the arm-twisting going on anent acceptance of the 2020 Election’s legitimacy and he has plenty of intelligent observations.
Recently, I appeared as a guest on Andrew Sullivan’s podcast. Sullivan is vociferously anti-Trump, so I expected us to disagree—which, naturally, we did. But I was surprised by the extent to which he insisted I assent to his assertion that the 2020 election was totally on the level. That is to say, I wasn’t surprised that Sullivan thinks it was; I was surprised by his evident yearning to hear me say so, too.
Which I could not do.
Sullivan badgered me on this at length before finally accusing me of being fixated on the topic, to which I responded, truthfully, that I was only talking about it because he asked. As far as I’m concerned, the 2020 election is well and truly over. I have, I said, “moved on.”
So I thought. Then I received two emails from a friendly acquaintance who is a recognized Republican expert on elections that suggested he, too, is troubled by my lack of belief. Then came two other data points, which I noticed only after the first draft this essay had been completed. Ramesh Ponnuru snarked (snark seems to be the go-to, indeed the only, device his in literary quiver) that one of the anomalies I cited in my most recent article in the Claremont Review of Books had been “debunked” by the partisan left-wing FactCheck.org. While I appreciate the insight into the sources from which National Review editors get their “facts” these days, the quote provided admits that the statistic I cited is, well, accurate. Ponurru naturally ignores all of the other points raised in my earlier article.
Jonathan Chait wrote yet another (his 12th?) article denouncing me, for this same sin of disbelief. Why did he bother? Is there even a remote chance that a single one of his New York magazine readers either read my article or encountered its argument? Or is he worried that the “narrative” of the election is so fragile that it needs to be shored up?
I wanted to move on, I really did. But when Left (Chait), center (Sullivan), faux-right anti-conservative ankle-biter (Ponnuru), and genuine, if establishment, Right (my correspondent) all agree that my lack of belief is a problem, I wondered why this should be so, and the following observations came to mind. Read the rest of this entry »
Matthew Fontaine Maury 1806-1873 was a Virginian and an officer in the US Navy, who resigned his commission rather than serve against his native state. He had been seriously injured early in his naval career, and rendered permanently unfit for sea duty, so he devoted his career to the application of science to naval affairs. His studies of winds and ocean currents became the foundation of the fields of Oceanography and Naval Meteorology. In addition to his intellectual services to the Confederacy during the War, Maury played an important role in promoting the founding the National Observatory, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Virginia Tech.
The Independent reports that the management of James Madison University has seen fit to cancel Matthew Fontaine Maury.
James Madison University has renamed three prominent buildings for African Americans who made significant contributions to the public institution in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, culminating a process of historical reckoning that began last summer when officials removed the names of Confederate leaders from the halls.
The buildings, all on the quad of the campus in Harrisonburg, now honour elements of the school’s past that had long been overlooked under a plan the JMU governing board approved Friday.
The action “is part of our deliberate effort to underscore JMU’s commitment to being a welcoming and inclusive institution”, the university’s president, Jonathan Alger, said in a statement.
“These names help us to tell a more complete history of our institution. They highlight and celebrate the contributions and accomplishments of important individuals and groups who have historically been underrepresented in prominent campus namings.
“Collectively they represent faculty, staff, students, alumni and prominent members of our local community.”
What had been Maury Hall, honouring a Confederate naval officer, is now Gabbin Hall. Its new name honours Joanne Gabbin and Alexander Gabbin, a married couple who are longtime members of the university faculty. Joanne Gabbin is an English professor and Alexander Gabbin an accounting professor.
Lieutenant General Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson 1824-1863, of course, was one of the greatest military commanders in history, particularly famed for his decisive role in reversing the outcome of the First Battle of Bull Run, for his brilliant campaign in defense of the Valley of Virginia in 1862, and for playing the key role in planning and executing the flank attack at Chancellorsville, in the course of which battle he was mortally wounded.
The former Jackson Hall, named for Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, is now Darcus Johnson Hall.
Sheary Darcus Johnson was the first black graduate of what is now JMU, earning a bachelor’s degree in library science from Madison College in 1970 and a master’s degree in elementary education in 1974.
Brigadier General Turner Ashby 1828-1862 was General Jackson’s cavalry commander. In his relatively brief military career, he nonetheless left an extraordinary record of military efficiency, chivalry, and bravery, and was regarded as “the Bayard of the Confederacy. He was shot through the heart, and killed instantly, rallying his men for a charge, while commanding Jackson’s Army’s rear guard, June 6, 1862, near Harrisonburg.
The former Ashby Hall, named for a Confederate cavalry officer, is now Harper Allen-Lee Hall. Its new name honours Doris Harper Allen, who worked as a cook for a Madison College president … as well as Robert Walker Lee, who provided janitorial and maintenance service at the school in the early 20th century and was believed to be its first black employee.
What can one possibly say?
We are experiencing a cultural revolution featuring an astonishing and reprehensible inversion of values that causes three heroes, men numbered among the greatest, most noble figures in the history of their native state and the nation, two of them especially associated with the specific region of the university, and who gave their lives in defense of their native state, to be cancelled, rejected, dishonored and discarded in favor of a cook and a janitor(!), a recent perfectly ordinary student, and a couple of minor and obscure current academics, all of whom possess no claim to distinction whatsoever beyond their membership in a particular identity group.
When I was in college, Smith College was renowned for producing wholesome Upper Middle Class good girls. I can’t recall the exact correct version, but there used to be an old saying in essence advising Yale men to “mess around with Vassar, but marry Smith.”*
Those were the days. A few decades ago, I regularly attended sporting book auctions held in Northampton, Mass., and I recall hearing of complaints about campus domination at Smith of “compulsory lesbianism.” Apparently, girls who declined to sleep with other girls were being pressured and stigmatized as reactionaries. I recall marveling at how things had changed.
Apparently, today, racial identity politics has replaced disgruntled feminist politics, and minority privilege and compensatory supremacy rules the roost.
One Smithie, at least, it seems has had the audacity to rebel. She’s given up her job, and obviously faces cancellation.
Jodi Shaw was, until this afternoon, a staffer at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. She made $45,000 a year — less than the yearly tuition at the school.
She is a divorced mother of two children. She is a lifelong liberal and an alumna of the college. And she has had a front-row seat to the illiberal, neo-racist ideology masquerading as progress.
In October 2020, after Shaw felt that she had exhausted all her internal options, she posted a video on YouTube, blowing the whistle on, what she says, is an atmosphere of racial discrimination at the school.
“I ask that Smith College stop reducing my personhood to a racial category. Stop telling me what I must think and feel about myself,” she said. “Stop presuming to know who I am or what my culture is based upon my skin color. Stop asking me to project stereotypes and assumptions onto others based on their skin color.” …
This goes back to very, very early times when he was becoming a national figure.
He and I were talking one day and he said, “’60 Minutes’ has contacted me and they want to do a profile on me.” And I said, “Rush, for the love of God, why are you agreeing to do this?”
… They told me he had done the interview. [And I said,] “What I want you to do is to tell me when the show is going to air. And as a gift, I’m going to buy you a one-way ticket to some island in the Pacific, as my guest, one way. And I’ll tell you when you can return based on what they’re going to do to you.”
So a few weeks later, we’re having dinner at Ruth’s Chris in Washington, and he said, “I got a call from CBS and they’re going to air it on Sunday.”
“Well, what’s the island that we’ve chosen, because I’ve got to get to the travel agency to buy you that ticket, because you got to get the hell out of this country. I can’t believe that.”
And he said, “Oh, but they told me I’m going to like it.” And I said, “Oh, that’s the kiss of death. That’s what they do when they’re going to kill you.”
He said on the appointed day—I don’t know if it’s in the files—my memory may not be 100% clear, but it went something like this, it began with a video of him on his radio show. First he’s talking about, I think it was gays, and he’s making fun of gays.
And at the end of it, they play that video to some gay organization. That gay organization is very upset and denounces him. And then they show that video to Rush. Rush laughs. He’s just having fun with this.
Second one is him doing an animal rights routine where he plays “Born Free,” the music with the machine gunfire in the background. And at the end of it, it is shown to an animal rights organization and they go ballistic on Rush. It is sent then to Rush, and Rush watches them going ballistic on him and bursts out laughing.
The third one is his routine on feminazis, and he was having fun with feminazis. And again, they show this clip to, run this clip by this feminist organization that goes bonkers on Rush. They show it to Rush. Rush is laughing even harder.
The bottom line was that this was a complete home run for Rush Limbaugh because America got to see this guy’s having fun. … He is politically incorrect, but he’s having fun with the people.
And these people have no sense of humor. And they are all attacking him viciously and personally, which he never did to anyone.