Michael Fane, the hero of Compton Mackenzie’s bildungsromanSinister Street describes the idea of the gentleman.
“Every day more and more loudly the opinion goes up thar these gentlemen are accidental ornaments, rather useless, rather irritating ornaments of contemporary society. Every day brings another sneer at public schools and universities. Every new writer who commands any attention drags out the old idol of the Noble Savage and invites us to worship him. Only now the Noble Savage has been out into corduroy trousers [Update this to “blue jeans.” –JDZ]. My theory is that a gentleman leavens the great popular mass of humanity, and however superficially useless he seems, his existence is a pledge of the immanence of the idea. Popular education has fired thousands to prove themselves not gentlemen in the present meaning of the term, but something much finer than any gentleman we know anything about. And they are not, they simply and solidly are not. The first instinct of the gentleman is respect for the past with all it connotes of art and religion and thought. The first instinct of the educated unfit is to hate and destroy the past. Now I maintain that the average gentleman, whatever situation he is called upon to face, will deal with it more effectively than these noble savages who have been armed with weapons they don’t know how to ue and are therefore so much the more dangerous, since every weapon to the primitive mind is a weapon of offense.”
Meanwhile, today, at the same Oxford Michael Fane once attended, the noble savages, now called Social Justice Warriors, are in full and open revolt against, not only the Past, but against Nature itself.
The Cavalier Daily reports that faculty and students at the University of Virginia signed a letter to that university’s president admonishing her for quoting Thomas Jefferson, who founded that university.
Several professors on Grounds collaborated to write a letter to University President Teresa Sullivan against the inclusion of a Thomas Jefferson quote in her post-election email Nov. 9.
In the email, Sullivan encouraged students to unite in the wake of contentious results, arguing that University students have the responsibility of creating the future they want for themselves.
â€œThomas Jefferson wrote to a friend that University of Virginia students â€˜are not of ordinary significance only: they are exactly the persons who are to succeed to the government of our country, and to rule its future enmities, its friendships and fortunes,â€™â€ Sullivan said in the email. â€œI encourage todayâ€™s U.Va. students to embrace that responsibility.â€
Some professors from the Psychology Department â€” and other academic departments â€” did not agree with the use of this quote. Their letter to Sullivan argued that in light of Jeffersonâ€™s owning of slaves and other racist beliefs, she should refrain from quoting Jefferson in email communications.
â€œWe would like for our administration to understand that although some members of this community may have come to this university because of Thomas Jefferson’s legacy, others of us came here in spite of it,â€ the letter read. â€œFor many of us, the inclusion of Jefferson quotations in these e-mails undermines the message of unity, equality and civility that you are attempting to convey.â€
Politics Prof. Lawrie Balfour said she believes everyone who signed the letter, including herself, was grateful that Sullivan responded to anxiety following the election â€” however, many felt it was the wrong moment to turn to Jefferson, following incidents of identity-related hate speech.
â€œIâ€™ve been here 15 years,â€ Balfour said. â€œAgain and again, I have found that at moments when the community needs reassurance and Jefferson appears, it undoes I think the really important work that administrators and others are trying to do.â€
Not all signees believe the University should move away from quoting Jefferson in all email correspondence, including Balfour.
â€œI think we have an opportunity to think about the contradictions that Jefferson embodied,” Balfour said. “The point is not that he is never appropriate, but the point is that the move that says, he owned slaves, but he was a great man, is deeply problematic, and I think it will continue to prevent us from being the kind of inclusive, respectful community that President Sullivan and the rest of us envision.â€
Pamela Constable is a Washington Post correspondent and a typical traitor-to-her-class Baby Boomer, who grew up in WASP-y, privileged Connecticut only to rebel against her parents’ values and become a Social Justice Warrior Holier-Than-Thou. Now, rather late in the game, she is beginning to understand that her parents sacrificed and struggled without complaint to obtain for her the privileged life-style she so despised, and she is beginning to see that the old-fashioned WASP virtues of hard work, good manners, emotional restraint, and good taste have quite a lot to be said for them.
My childhood was a cocoon of tennis and piano lessons, but once I reached my teens, disturbing news began filtering in from the world beyond. An alumna of my elementary school gave an impassioned speech about her summer registering black voters in the South. At boarding school, a current-events teacher introduced me to McCarthyism and apartheid, and I watched the funeral of Martin Luther King Jr. Filled with righteous indignation, I memorized Bob Dylan songs about poverty and injustice and vowed to become a crusading journalist. Above my study carrel, I taped the famous journalistic directive to â€œcomfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.â€
The most convenient target I could afflict was my parents, who seemed more worried about their daughter turning into a hippie than about a world full of rampant wrongs. I wrote them earnest letters railing against capitalism, country clubs and colonial exploitation. I accused them of being snobs and racists and scoffed at their preoccupation with appearance. If they were hurt or offended, they never let it show, in part because I kept getting Aâ€™s and dutifully stood through numerous fittings for my debutante dress.
I hardly saw my parents during my four years at Brown, a tumultuous time that included the bombing of Cambodia and the resignation of Richard Nixon. Soon after graduation I was gone, immersed in big-city newspaper work. I spent a decade writing about alcoholics and juvenile delinquents and slumlords. Eventually my reporting took me even farther afield, to impoverished or war-torn countries such as Haiti and Chile, India and Afghanistan. It was an adventuresome and stimulating career, but it was also a kind of private atonement for having grown up amid such privilege. I rarely told anyone where I was from.
Over time, my relations with my parents settled into a long-distance detente that was affectionate but formal. We sent each other thank-you notes and avoided talking about politics. Yet even though I had run as far from Connecticut as I could, every time I called from another war zone or refugee camp, they always asked eagerly, â€œWhen might we see you again?â€ The guest room was always waiting, with a few ancient stuffed animals on the pillow.
Still, it was only after witnessing the desperation and cruelty of life in much of the world that I began to reexamine my prejudices against the cloister I had fled. In some countries, I saw how powerful forces could keep people trapped in poverty for life; in others, how neighbors could slaughter each other in spasms of hate. I met child brides and torture victims, religious fanatics and armed rebels. I explored societies shattered by civil war, upended by revolution, and strangled by taboo and tradition.
Visiting home between assignments, I found myself noticing and appreciating things I had always taken for granted â€” the tamed greenery and smooth streets, the absence of fear and abundance of choice, the code of good manners and civilized discussion. I also began to learn things about my parents I had never known and to realize that I had judged them unfairly. I had confused their social discomfort with condescension and their conservatism with callousness.
The dialogue mirrored most sane readerâ€™s thoughts during the issue, but weâ€™re not all monsters. We are just loyal, long-time readers who are sick of our favorite characters being butchered by nose-ringed lesbians for the sake of diversity, and at the apparent expense not just of dialogue, story and creativity but also, it now appears, the commercial success of Marvelâ€™s comic books line. …
Increasing customer frustration at obscure third-wave feminism preoccupations shoehorning their way into Marvelâ€™s comic books is starting to have an effect on sales. It turns out you canâ€™t bully people into caring about â€œmicroaggressions.â€ …
Marvel isnâ€™t getting the message. Its latest comic book character is â€” wait for it â€” a fifteen year-old black female Iron Man. Thatâ€™s right. Tony Stark, the badass, billionaire playboy businessman who has represented the quintessential white American male since the 1960s is to be replaced by a fifteen year-old black girl with an Afro and hooped earrings.
Other comic book publishers are hardly saints, of course. In an issue of DCâ€™s Wonder Woman last year, the popular female superhero complained about a villain â€œmansplainingâ€ to her before an ally punched him in the face for the crime. â€œThe lasso compels truth, but it canâ€™t stop mansplaining,â€ declared Wonder Woman as the â€œbad guyâ€ had his teeth knocked out of his mouth.
The new social political styles seem a weird choice for publishers who have a predominately apolitical â€” and disproportionately male â€” audience. …
“Weâ€™re seeing the worst falloff of Marvel and DC sales in the storeâ€™s 38-year history,â€ complained one comic book store owner in an industry forum. â€œBoth companies are losing established readers who no longer feel that the companyâ€™s output reflects the sort of comics they enjoy.”
Students at Cambridge University have been branded racist â€“ for organizing an African-themed dinner.
Invitations to the formal dinner asked if guests would like to â€œescape collegeâ€ and â€œtravel far awayâ€ and used Swahili phrases from Disney film The Lion King, including â€œhakuna matataâ€, which means â€œno worriesâ€.
The menu at the Queensâ€™ College event, organized by senior students, included Senegal fish balls in a spicy tomato sauce, chicken tagine from Morocco, Nigerian delicacy fried plantain, South African malva pudding, and Cape wine.
In response, undergraduate Alice Davidson wrote a 525-word blog titled â€œAfrica Isnâ€™t Yours To Appropriateâ€ accusing organizers of â€œinappropriately borrowing elements of a minority cultureâ€ and using them as â€œfashion accessoriesâ€.
Ms Davidson said it would have been better â€œif the initiative had come from members of the African Society Cambridge University themselves, who could then determine the menu and terms of cultural exchange.â€
Pointing out that the dinner was held in the Cripps Dining Hall, which is â€œonlyâ€ filled with portraits of white people, she added: â€œOr maybe if the [dinner] was more honestly named â€˜West Africanâ€™ or â€˜South Africanâ€™ themed, rather than attempting to reduce an entire continent into three courses.â€
She went on: â€œCultural appropriation is the adoption of elements of one culture by members of another culture, specifically adoption of the minority culture by the majority. Whether it be hairstyles, music, â€˜fancy dressâ€™ or food, whatâ€™s key is the power dynamic by which the majority has historically oppressed the minority.â€
Another student supported Ms Davidson, accusing organizers of lumping together 50 countries without giving any thought to their cultural differences â€“ which they would never have done with European states.
Cambridge University African Society president Halimatou Hima confirmed the group withdrew its support for the event over historical prejudices.
Then leftist W.H. Auden, paying valedictory tribute to the reactionary William Butler Yeats in 1939, condescendingly conceded that Kipling’s literary merit gained him forgiveness for his Imperialist views:
Time that is intolerant
Of the brave and the innocent,
And indifferent in a week
To a beautiful physique,
Worships language and forgives
Everyone by whom it lives;
Pardons cowardice, conceit,
Lays its honours at their feet.
Time that with this strange excuse
Pardoned Kipling and his views,
And will pardon Paul Claudel,
Pardons him for writing well.
Columbia graduate Katherine Trendacosta, night editor of io9, writing in 2016 is a lot less tolerant than was W.H. Auden back then.
Ms. Trendacosta decisively warns potential viewers of Disney Movie’s “The Jungle Book” (2016) that “Rudyard Kipling Was a Racist Fuck and The Jungle Book Is Imperialist Garbage.”
We are currently in the 21st century. We are in the second decade of the 21st century and there are not one, not two, but three Jungle Book movies on the horizon. And that means that itâ€™s time to remind everyone that Rudyard Kipling was a piece of racist, imperialist trash. …
[There is] inherent racism and imperialism baked into The Jungle Book. And the argument about when the book was written and by whom doesnâ€™t excuse either Disney or Warner Bros. from making adaptations of it in the 21st century. Unless these movies are loaded with historical context, or are subversive critiques of Kipling, theyâ€™re still adapting, for entertainment, a story that has fundamental issues. …
Iâ€™m not saying that Kipling should be censored, but I am saying that he cannot be presented without context. There are messages in The Jungle Book that are very hard to remove. Hell, Disney managed to add to the problems in the 1960s when it added a character called King Louie, who is widely seen as a racist caricature of black people. (Kiplingâ€™s book has monkeys, which are the worst of the animal lot, being incapable of having government and only able to mimic others without a decent culture of their own.)
And, at the end of the day, weâ€™re still left with a story where a white person exoticizes a country and its people. How does this idea pass muster in 2016?
I find, to my amazement, that I now live in a world in which a graduate of an elite university is (apparently) unable to read “The Jungle Book,” a tremendously lovable children’s classic, with appreciation or enjoyment because she finds the author’s world-view and politics ideologically offensive.
Ms. Trendacosta does not actually find it necessary to review the Disney cartoon. She considers it sufficient to indict the author of the book on which, I expect, the animated feature is very loosely based, and to heap abuse on him and the original book.
I am frankly more than a little skeptical as to whether this reviewer has ever actually read “The Jungle Book.” She is probably, in reality, just applying political taxonomy based on a glance at the Wikipedia plot summary and an on-line political critique by Edward Said she found somewhere. Had she really read the book, I have to believe that she would speak differently.
Apart from this reviewer’s manifest unfamiliarity with, what the late Susan Sontag would have referred to as, the erotics of the reading experience of “TJB,” I was myself struck by this writer’s total reliance upon petitio principii, “the assumption of the initial point.” It never remotely occurs to Ms. Trendacosta that she is under any obligation to offer arguments against Imperialism or the late Rudyard Kipling’s belief in the superiority of British culture and institutions to those indigenous to India. Her own perspective is totally absolute and goes without saying, and if you were to violate it by thought crime, one gets the impression that you’d be lucky to get off being merely humiliated and ostracised. You should really be immediately taken out and shot.
io9 is a techie geek sort of blog, the kind of blog that reviews games, software developments, and nerd culture sorts of things, Marvel comics, Star Wars, Game of Thrones. It is depressing and alarming to find the likes of io9 infested by Social Justice Warrior-types, too illiterate to have ever read “The Jungle Book,” but ideologically intolerant and arrogant enough to denounce it anyway.
The West is ablaze with protests not just because of the failure of the Left in the cities, on campuses, and across Europe to offer a workable paradigm, but also because of the Leftâ€™s canonic assurances that it could and would.
Deans and mayors promised utopia. When it did not arrive, the only concession they had left was more failed efforts to achieve the unachievable. People turn on their own more violently than they turn on others, as if a liberal, paternal dean should be able to snap his fingers and make liberal students happy. When he so promises, his ensuing failure only makes things worse.
All the banned micro-aggressions, all the safe spaces, all the trigger warnings, and all the fired deans will not make todayâ€™s postmodern students happy, much less appreciative, any more than would mandating authentic ethnic cooks and more year-round hot-tubs. Like addicts, they believe one more cheap fix from a compliant supplier will finally do the trick. Donâ€™t expect the addict to show gratitude to his dealer.
Leftist revolutionaries cannot be satisfied, because they have long ago been given all they asked for, and are now rebelling for the idea of rebelling against something, even if it is reduced to a micro-aggression or founded on a myth like â€œHands up, donâ€™t shoot.â€ Millions of inner-city youths are as furious as are elite students. They got the liberal city and the liberal university they wanted â€” only to rage that human nature is not liberal and that contentment cannot be found through mirror-image government, but only within themselves. How can you rebel against that age-old truth?