Category Archive 'New Yorker'
14 Nov 2020
â€œ. . . and if you look off the left-hand side of the plane youâ€™ll see the smoldering ruins of whatâ€™s left of our civilization . . .â€
02 Aug 2020
E. Tammy Kim, Yale 2002.
There was a time when the New Yorker viewed itself as the voice of an imaginary top-hatted and monocled urban sophisticate of impeccable White Anglo-Saxon pedigree, whimsically named Eustace Tilley, whose costume hinted at residence in an imaginary Regency Manhattan, drawn scrutinizing skeptically a passing butterfly, evidently attempting to determine if its quality rises to a level worthy of his recognition and acquaintance.
Today’s New Yorker of almost a century later, like the American Establishment it speaks to, and for, has changed most remarkably.
Its authors are still dyed-in-the-wool representatives of the community of fashion, channeling the Zeitgeist and delivering up the intellectual results of educations at the finest universities in the land, like Yale, just for instance. But, where the old New Yorker was devoted to the eternal quest for top quality writing and exhibitions of high intelligence, today’s New Yorker is an angry, self-righteous fanatic, a Savanarola or Robespierre, devoted to the Revolution in which the likes of Eustace Tilley will be indicted for limitless historical crimes against a constellation of Identity Groups, convicted and guillotined in Manhattan’s version of the Place de la Concorde.
The magazine’s pages will, henceforth, be devoted to organizing and agitating on behalf of all officially-recognized Oppressed Categories; denouncing and destroying Eustace, everything he stands for, and all his relations; and negotiating the precise future status and power relations of every category of victim in the new Majority.
E. Tammy Kim, in the latest New Yorker, is endeavoring to book some advantageous accommodations on Karl Marx’s Arc for Koreans like herself, when the Rising Tide of Color in the imminent future sweeps away the white American majority, the Founding Fathers, God, apple pie, and the entire former canon of Western History and Culture.
The most recent time I was mistaken for white was a few weeks ago, on that most ignoble medium of Zoom. This time, it was a virtual organizing meeting for a tenant-rights group in New York. The handful of people on the call were mostly friends, all of us concerned about protecting neighbors from eviction, particularly during the pandemic. As we discussed the welfare of longtime renters, and as Black Lives Matter protests erupted a few blocks away, a new member of the group tried to thoughtfully turn the lens.
â€œWeâ€™re talking gentrification, but everyone on this call is white,â€ she said.
â€œActually, Iâ€™m not white,â€ I replied.
â€œOh, I just meant that we have no people of color,â€ she said. â€œNo Black or brown people.â€
I nodded to clear the air and because I found the exchange more intriguing than discomfiting. Though our organizing group included people of all races, it was true that this particular meeting was overwhelmingly white. The woman had thus invoked â€œpeople of colorâ€ and â€œBlack and brownâ€ to mean renters who were Black or Latinx, older and lower-income. I wondered if she would have said the same thing if younger, wealthier newcomers who happened to have dark skin had been on the call. Would they qualify as â€œpeople of colorâ€?
I want to clarify that I do not look white. I am Korean-American and appear very much the part. So the womanâ€™s mistake was not centered in her visual cortex but, rather, in whatever organs of intellect and affect tell us that one thing is not like the other. It was a short, mundane encounter of the kind Iâ€™ve had many times before, with both Black and white people.
E. Tammy Kim, strangely enough to my own mind, emerged from dear old Yale, Philosophy degree in hand, apparently astonishingly well versed on the opinions of every minor communist academic crackpot at every cow college in the country. She can quote chapter and verse concerning every real and suppositious grievance for every malcontent identity group, but she somehow overlooks entirely the sunny side of life.
Personally, I think she might forgive America its 19th Century Ban on Chinese Immigration and our insufficient wage payments to migrant labor and poor whites when she considers that America also saved half of her ancestral homeland from Communist despotism and slavery and, despite all our racism and White Supremacy, let her family come here, where instead of digging ditches and eating turnips like the typical North Korean, she got to revel in the luxury of Yale’s Trumbull College and publish regularly in the Times and the New Yorker.
One asks oneself: What does it take to satisfy this chick?
[A] growing number of activists and commentators say that â€œpeople of colorâ€ no longer works. The central point of Black Lives Matter, after all, has been to condemn the mortal threat of anti-Black racism and name the particular experiences of the Black community. â€œPeople of color,â€ by grouping all non-whites in the United States, if not the world, fails to capture the disproportionate per-capita harm to Blacks at the hands of the state. The practical use of â€œpeople of colorâ€ has also devolved into â€œdiversityâ€ rhetoric, invoked by a white managerial class that may be willing to hire fair-skinned Latinx or Asian expats but not Black people, or by non-Black minorities who lean on the term only when itâ€™s convenient. Say Black if you mean Black. S. Neyooxet Greymorning, a professor of anthropology and Native American studies at the University of Montana, told me that â€œpeople of colorâ€ tends to blot out the concerns of not only Black people but those who claim the â€œpolitical,â€ non-racial category of indigenous. â€œThe problem is, even when you have those kinds of alliances, normally one group will rise to the top and dominate the other groups,â€ he said.
To be clear, Greymorning did not mean to contest the present focus on Black lives. He applauded it and noted that every mobilization needs a definable aim; ending all discriminatory violence would be too large and blurry a goal to structure a movement. But itâ€™s also the case thatâ€”since the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement, in 2013â€”some intellectuals and activists have contended that anti-Blackness alone can explain U.S. history, and that all other campaigns for racial and social justice are tributaries of the Black liberation struggle. Rejecting the term â€œpeople of colorâ€ may be of little consequence, but rejecting the solidarity it implies can result in an inaccurate and unduly limiting world view.
As Margo Okazawa-Rey, a professor emerita at San Francisco State University who participated in the Black feminist Combahee River Collective of the nineteen-seventies, put it, â€œThe history of this country is told from the East Coast,â€ thereby privileging the Black-white binary. This lens is foundational, and central to our racial imaginary, but it should not be the only one. The enslavement of Black people on this continentâ€”and the caste system devised to maintain itâ€”cannot fully explain the attempted genocide of indigenous peoples, a decades-long ban on Chinese immigration, the mass deportations and lynching of Mexican migrant workers, the crackdown on Arab and Muslim communities after 9/11, or our wars in the Philippines and Iraq. The wealth of the United States owes not only to slavery but also the exploitation of migrant workers and poor whites, and the theft of land and natural resources here and abroad. And although it is now common to attribute the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 solely to the civil-rights movement, its more proximate cause was the injunction of anti-Communist foreign policy.
Clearly, as we see below, it takes, speaking as a member of the current European-descended majority, nothing less than our replacement, supplanting, defeat and cultural and political elimination.
This cute little Asian girl is really a raving communist and a spectacularly virulent racist.
What seems obvious is: Considering her views, why doesn’t she just go to Cuba, or North Korea, where she doesn’t need to organize, agitate, or struggle at all. Her vision of “universal liberation, across race and class, against white supremacy and U.S. empire” is already perfectly in place in those countries.
The problem with sorting based on the dominant racial binary, according to the philosopher Linda MartÃn Alcoff, of Hunter College, is that it creates a defeatist paradigm â€œin which a very large white majority confronts a relatively small Black minorityâ€â€”when, in fact, whites in the U.S. will soon be outnumbered by people of color.
Eustace Tilley, cover of first New Yorker, 1925.
08 Jun 2020
The New Yorker has got a previously unpublished fishing story by Ernest Hemingway. Good stuff!
That year we had planned to fish for marlin off the Cuban coast for a month. The month started the tenth of April and by the tenth of May we had twenty-five marlin and the charter was over. The thing to have done then would have been to buy some presents to take back to Key West and fill the Anita with just a little more expensive Cuban gas than was necessary to run across, get cleared, and go home. But the big fish had not started to run.
â€œDo you want to try her another month, Cap?â€ Mr. Josie asked. He owned the Anita and was chartering her for ten dollars a day. The standard charter price then was thirty-five a day. â€œIf you want to stay, I can cut her to nine dollars.â€
29 Aug 2019
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, La baigneuse endormie [The Sleeping Bather], 1897, Winterthur.
The New Yorker rather outdid itself in the “PC Assaults on Civilization” Sweepstakes this week with Peter Schjedahl‘s smackdown of Renoir.
Targeting Renoir as problematic, sexist, and prurient seems not only Philistine, Puritanical, and just plain unkind, it seems to constitute a downright fascistic rejection of la douceur de vivre.
Roger Kimball identifies precisely what is so fundamentally wrong here in the Spectator.
Schjeldahlâ€™s judgments about Renoir are a fastidiously composed congeries of up-to-the-minute elite opinion. There at The New Yorker, everyone will agree with Schjeldahl about Renoir or â€” the more important point â€” about subjugating him to the strictures prevalent among the beautiful people circa 2019. What made Schjeldahlâ€™s essay notorious were not his particular judgments about Renoirâ€™s art or character but rather his imperative anachronism. â€˜An argument is often made that we shouldnâ€™t judge the past by the values of the present,â€™ Schjeldahl writes, â€˜but thatâ€™s a hard sell in a case as primordial as Renoirâ€™s.â€™
Is it? As Ed Driscoll pointed out at Instapundit, Schjeldahlâ€™s essay is sterling example of what C.S. Lewis described as â€˜chronological snobbery,â€™ the belief that â€˜the thinking, art, or science of an earlier time is inherently inferior to that of the present, simply by virtue of its temporal priority or the belief that since civilization has advanced in certain areas, people of earlier time periods were less intelligent.â€™ If, Driscoll observes, we add the toxic codicil that those previous times were â€˜therefore wrong and also racistâ€™ we would have â€˜a perfect definition of todayâ€™s SJWs.â€™
Exactly. Driscoll goes on to quote Jon Gabriel, who has anatomized this process under the rubric of â€˜cancel culture,â€™ a culture of willful and barbaric diminishment.
â€˜Cancel culture,â€™ Gabriel notes, â€˜is spreading for one simple reason: it works. Instead of debating ideas or competing for entertainment dollars, you can just demand anyone who annoys you to be cast out of polite society.â€™ Itâ€™s already come to a college campus near you, and is epidemic on social and other sorts of media. not to mention through the so-called â€˜Human Resourcesâ€™ departments of many companies. Wander ever so slightly outside the herd of independent minds and, bang, itâ€™s ostracism or worse.
There are many ironies attendant on the spread of â€˜cancel culture.â€™ One irony is that, despite its origins in the effete eyries of elite culture, the new ethic of conformity exhibits an extraordinary and intolerant provincialism. The British man of letters David Cecil got to the nub of this irony when, in his book Library Looking-Glass, he noted that â€˜there is a provinciality in time as well as in space.â€™
â€˜To feel ill-at-ease and out of place except in oneâ€™s own period is to be a provincial in time. But he who has learned to look at life through the eyes of Chaucer, of Donne, of Pope and of Thomas Hardy is freed from this limitation. He has become a cosmopolitan of the ages, and can regard his own period with the detachment which is a necessary foundation of wisdom.â€™
It has become increasingly clear as the imperatives of political correctness make ever greater inroads against free speech and the perquisites of dispassionate inquiry that the battle against this provinciality of time is one of the central cultural tasks of our age. It is a battle from which the traditional trustees of civilization â€” schools and colleges, museums, many churches â€” have fled. Increasingly, the responsibility for defending the intellectual and spiritual foundations of Western civilization has fallen to individuals and institutions that are largely distant from, when they are not indeed explicitly disenfranchised from, the dominant cultural establishment.
Leading universities today command tax-exempt endowments in the tens of billions of dollars. Leading cultural organs like The New Yorker and The New York Times parrot the ethos of the academy and exert a virtual monopoly on elite opinion.
But it is by no means clear, notwithstanding their prestige and influence, whether they do anything to challenge the temporal provinciality of their clients. No, let me amend that: it is blindingly clear that they do everything in their considerable power to reinforce that provinciality, not least by their slavish capitulation to the dictates of the enslaving presentism of political correctness.
25 Aug 2019
Amy Wax, a professor at Penn Law, has gravely jeopardized both her career and personal reputation, tip-toeing around the edge of the Overton Window, by questioning the absolute equality of mankind’s cultures.
In Nazi Germany, when somebody got this far out of line, they’d get a visit from the Gestapo. In the Soviet Union, it would be the N.K.V.D. rapping on the door. In contemporary America, the New Yorker sends a professional apparatchik like Isaac Chotiner to assassinate by interview.
If a politician with a history of anti-Semitism says, â€œThe Jews control a giant chunk of Hollywood,â€ and he starts ranting about that, do you think that the proper response is to say, â€œWell, letâ€™s investigate exactly how much power Jews have in Hollywood, and, if itâ€™s true that Jews have a lot of power in Hollywood, we should let this person rant about how much power the Jews have in Hollywood, because, after all, it is true?â€ And so anything that is true canâ€™t be racist. What do you think of my example there?
Well, here you go with the â€œracistâ€ again. I mean, is it true? Are there a lot of Jews in Hollywood? Yeah, there are. Letâ€™s start with thatâ€”there are a tremendous number of Jews, out of proportion to their numbers in the population within the universities, within the media, in the professions. We can ask all of these questions, and you know what? They admit of an answer. But essentially what the left is saying is: We canâ€™t even answer the question. We canâ€™t. Once weâ€™ve labelled something racist, the conversation stops. It comes to a halt, and we are the arbiters of what can be discussed and what canâ€™t be discussed. We are the arbiters of the words that can be used, of the things that can be said.
I can tell you, and, once again, this is just from the mail I get, from the e-mails I get, from the people I talk to, that kind of move is deeply resented.
Iâ€™m just trying to make a point about how something could be true but still racist or used in a racist manner. Not that I think that everything you said is true.
Once again, youâ€™d have to define racism. Youâ€™re basically saying any generalization about a group, whether true or falseâ€”and we know it doesnâ€™t apply to everybody in the group, because thatâ€™s just a straw manâ€”is racist. I mean, we could do â€œsexist,â€ right?
So, women, on average, are more agreeable than men. Women, on average, are less knowledgeable than men. Theyâ€™re less intellectual than men. Now, I can actually back up all those statements with social-science research.
You can send me links for women are â€œless intellectual than men.â€ Iâ€™m happy to include that in the piece if you have a good link for that.
O.K., well, thereâ€™s a literature in Britain, a series of papers that were done, and I need to look them up, that show that women are less knowledgeable than men. They know less about every single subject, except fashion. There is a literature out of Vanderbilt University that looks at women of very high abilityâ€”so, controlling for abilityâ€”and, starting in adolescence, women are less interested in the single-minded pursuit of abstract intellectual goals than men. They want more balance in their life. They want more time with family, friends, and people. Theyâ€™re less interested in working hard on abstract ideas. You can put together a database that shows that. The person who has the literature is a man named David Lubinski, and he shows that intelligence isnâ€™t whatâ€™s driving it. It is interest, orientation, what people want to spend their time doing.
Now, is that sexist? We can argue all day about whether it is sexist. We can argue from morning till night. And it is sterile. It is pointless. Letâ€™s talk about the actual findings and what implications they have for policy, for expectations.
[Wax sent links to two studies whose lead author is Richard Lynn, a British psychologist who is known for believing in racial differences in intelligence, supporting eugenics, and associating with white supremacists. (She also shared the Wikipedia page for â€œgeneral knowledge,â€ which cites several of Lynnâ€™s studies.) David Lubinski, a professor of psychology at Vanderbilt, clarified that his research was about the life choices of men and women and did not address claims such as women being less intellectual than men.]
Professor Wax, throughout the interview, is trying to identify the Progressive restriction of speech and thought as a serious national and academic problem. Chotiner, throughout the interview, is looking for some damaging quotes he can use to hang her.
06 Aug 2019
Leave it to the New Yorker to assign appraisal of some automotive-think books to a Jewish nerd who doesn’t know how to drive and who is afraid of cars.
Was the Automotive Era a Terrible Mistake?
For a century, weâ€™ve loved our cars. They havenâ€™t loved us back.
According to Heller, the triumph of the internal combustion engine was just another expression of toxic masculinity. He looks forward approvingly, from his Blue perspective, to a future of self-driving cars. No more autonomy. No more individualism. What could be more Blue State? What could be better?
You kind of wonder if the New Yorker would have given John Ruskin space for a column on making love to a woman or assigned Helen Keller to review Impressionist paintings.
Come friendly bombs and fall on Brooklyn!
08 May 2019
Prices will be going on on pre-emissions Beetles and people will be reprinting the old John Muir Fix-That-VW-Yourself Guide.
Our Corporate Overlords are rapidly developing driverless cars, and advanced thinkers are already talking about banning driving a car yourself altogether.
The New Yorker recently reported that a new group has been created specifically to defend the Freedom to Drive.
Safety has long been a central argument for the adoption of driverless cars. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, ninety-four per cent of serious crashes are due to human error, and some thirty-five thousand Americans die in traffic-related accidents each year. Autonomous-vehicle makers claim that, by seeing more and responding faster than human drivers can, their cars will save thousands of lives. According to this logic, not adopting autonomous-vehicle technology would be irresponsibleâ€”even unethical. â€œPeople may outlaw driving cars because itâ€™s too dangerous,â€ Elon Musk said, at a technology conference, in 2015. (â€œTo be clear, Tesla is strongly in favor of people being allowed to drive their cars and always will be,â€ he elaborated later, on Twitter. â€œHopefully, that is obvious. However, when self-driving cars become safer than human-driven cars, the public may outlaw the latter. Hopefully not.â€)
Perhaps it was inevitable that a nascent right-to-drive movement would spring up in America, whereâ€”as fervent gun-rights advocates and anti-vaccinators have shownâ€”we seem intent on preserving freedom of choice even if it kills us. â€œPeople outside the United States look at it with bewilderment,â€ Toby Walsh, an Australian artificial-intelligence researcher, told me. In his book â€œMachines That Think: The Future of Artificial Intelligence,â€ from 2018, Walsh predicts that, by 2050, autonomous vehicles will be so safe that we wonâ€™t be allowed to drive our own cars. Unlike Roy, he believes that we will neither notice nor care. In Walshâ€™s view, a constitutional amendment protecting the right to drive would be as misguided as the Second Amendment. â€œWe will look back on this time in fifty years and think it was the Wild West,â€ he went on. â€œThe only challenge is, how do we get to zero road deaths? Weâ€™re only going to get there by removing the human.â€
[Meredith] Broussard [a former software developer who is now a professor of data journalism at New York University, and author of the recent book, â€œArtificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the Worldâ€] has a term for the insistence that computers can do everything better than humans can: technochauvinism. â€œMost of the autonomous-vehicle manufacturers are technochauvinists,â€ she said. â€œThe big spike in distracted-driving traffic accidents and fatalities in the past several years has been from people texting and driving. The argument that the cars themselves are the problem is not really looking at the correct issue. We would be substantially safer if we put cell-phone-jamming devices in cars. And we already have that technology.â€ Like Roy, she strongly disputes both the imminence and the safety of driverless technology. â€œThere comes a point at which you have to divorce fantasy from reality, and the reality is that autonomous vehicles are two-ton killing machines. They do not work as well as advocates would have you believe.â€
Rather than create a constitutional amendment, Broussard argues that drivers should resist laws that would take away their existing rights. Although steering wheels are legally mandatory, the SELF DRIVE Act, which passed the House in 2017, would allow autonomous-vehicle companies to request exemptions from tens of thousands of other regulations. (The Act died in the Senate, but driverless-car companies are urging Congress to take it up again this year.) According to Broussard, the best way to protect the right to drive may be simply to defeat laws that would legalize autonomous vehicles. â€œWe can challenge the notion that autonomous vehicles are inevitable,â€ she said. â€œThey are not even legal right now.â€
Those driverless cars will all be equipped with Internet connections telling the companies that built them and the government exactly where you are and allowing either to disable your vehicle at will. You will need Big Brother’s permission to go anywhere.
Automobiles are already far too loaded with safety features; stripped of conveniences like spare tires, dip sticks, and vent windows; and calculatingly contrived to deny their owners the ability to make repairs themselves.
Our freedom of choice has been incrementally removed year by year. Next they will taking away our Freedom to Drive altogether.
Join the HDA:
09 Feb 2019
I could support any of these three myself.
24 Sep 2018
Steven Hayward saw it coming.
I Told You So
Iâ€™ve been saying all week that you could expect another late hit on Brett Kavanaugh over the weekend, and right on schedule, we have the New Yorker story, which, as Paul and Scott have already noted, is pretty thin gruel. But it was absolutely necessary for the left to come up with a story like this, for several reasons. …
[O]ne thing that is true in virtually all cases of sexual predation (think Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein) is that there is a pattern of behavior, and usually several other women stepping forward. This trait was conspicuously absent until now. We know that the mediaâ€”and no doubt large portions of the Democratic establishmentâ€”have been trolling feverishly to find another woman with a story. This is the best they can doâ€”a hazy, indirect, recovered memory?
I think this entire late gambit has been one huge bluff by the Democrats, intending to intimidate Republicans into dropping Kavanaugh. I donâ€™t think Dr. Ford has any intention of testifying before the Judiciary Committee this week, and I expect come Wednesday weâ€™ll get a self-serving announcement attacking Chairman Grassley and the Senate Republicans for â€œbullyingâ€ and creating a â€œhostile environmentâ€ in which Dr. Ford cannot â€œsafelyâ€ tell her story. At that point, Grassley should call for an immediate committee vote to proceed with the nomination. This latest story in just another attempt to keep the intimidation fires alive. Fine: I say letâ€™s call the bluff and request that Deborah Ramirez, the source of the new allegation, present herself for sworn testimony before the committee.
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