Pale Fire

We’re gonna spell out a word here, a few times actually, that is often politely acknowledged by only its first letter, although we’re not sure for whose benefit.

It’s from testimony at Tuesday’s first congressional hearing into the January 6 insurrection, given by one of the Capitol officers protecting the heart of American democracy — what passes for it, anyway — against its opponents.

“You hear that guys, this nigger voted for Joe Biden,” the officer was told.

“Put your gun down,” a colleague reported about a separate encounter, “and we’ll show you what kind of nigger you really are.”

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“Very frankly,” said Ronald Reagan about Roots after its 1977 broadcast, “I thought the bias of all the good people being one color and all the bad people being another was rather destructive.”

This line is so precise, we have to wonder whether he wrote it. Or, if he did write it, we have to wonder how well-worn this kind of dishonesty already was, that he could just pick it out of the air. Ronald Reagan was not an intelligent man, but he was a good liar, and he knew a good lie when he heard one.

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The first thing white people did upon hearing about the latest slaughter was to argue whether it was racist.

You’d think that was a no-brainer: While male murderer, Asian female victims. You’d think, after a year of a racist President racializing a pandemic, after reports for months of random attacks on Asian Americans, something like this would be easily, if sorrowfully, understood.

You’d think that. Unless you were white, apparently.

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One of the most useful passages we’ve read in philosophy is Wittgenstein’s “The World As I Found It”. Crafted as a response to Descartes, it is a brief exercise in identifying consciousness — what I see, what I sense, the parts of my body subject to my control — and ends, not with a brain in a vat, but with consciousness melting into the world itself. The world is my awareness of the world, my experience of it.

You needn’t delve into esoteric philosophy to understand this. Growing up, we enjoyed a sitcom inspired by Thurber cartoons called “My World… and Welcome to It”. Even at age 10, we got the idea.

Another way to understand this is simply your own experience. Your world is your stage, and you are both star and audience. What you know best is what you’ve lived. Anything outside your experience is by nature foreign, exotic, uncertain. You know what you know. What you don’t know might as well not even exist.

And when you’re a white male in America, there’s a lot you don’t know.

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We invite our guest columnist to take a refreshing dive into Lake Michigan.

Why are hard-core left wingers still trying to talk about Kwanzaa — the supposed African-American holiday celebration between Christmas and New Year’s?

As has been well publicized, Kwanzaa is not some African or African-American tradition. It was invented in 1966 by Ron Karenga, a 1960s radical leader and founder of something called the “US Organization”. This group, often referred to as the “United Slaves” is even more radical than the Black Panthers. The United Slaves killed two Black Panther members and Karenga himself wound up going to prison for assaulting some of his own members. Karenga was a racist and didn’t like the idea that Christ died for all of our sins, so he felt blacks should have their own holiday — hence, Kwanzaa.

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“Republicans have run out of persuadable white voters.” —Republican pollster Whit Ayres and Jennifer Korn of the Hispanic Leadership Network, observing that Mitt’s 20-point Haole win didn’t mean squat. [TPM]

Maine Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster: “In some parts of rural Maine, there were dozens, dozens of black people who came in and voted on Election Day. Everybody has a right to vote, but nobody in (these) towns knows anyone who’s black. How did that happen? I don’t know. We’re going to find out.” [Portland Press Herald, via Political Wire]