Category Archives: Lionel Shriver

As you watch the debate, remember that culture war matters

Even #NeverTrumpers have to concede that Trump is the one who looked down upon the culture wars, built a barricade, and loudly stood atop it hollering “Stop!” at the top of his lungs. With Trump in the White House, political correctness and all its attendant evils might no longer be issues. So as you prepare to watch the debate, or as you think about the debate after having already watched it, let me just remind you of the craziness that is the American culture warin the Age of Obama.

A word of caution — as is true for the audience filing into the debate at Hofsta, let me warn you that there are triggering ideas here. They might make anyone who reads this post stop and think how terribly the Left has injured America’s moral backbone and common sense.

Damn women.  There’s been a big to-do about the change in culture that sees people desperate to be in selfies with famous people. The ne plus ultra of this trend is a marvelous photo of Hillary standing alone on a box at the back of a room, with the rest of the room facing away from Hillary, arms extended in the air, with each person trying to get a selfie that includes Hillary. You can see the picture here, along with a great caption contest.

Perhaps because one of my Little Bookworms selfies, I’ve become immune to the selfie trend. That is, I don’t like it, but it doesn’t surprise me.

I wanted you to note something different about the picture:  all those navel-gazing selfie takers, desperate to project themselves into their favorite candidate’s world, are women. It’s the damn college educated women who are propping up Hillary’s campaign. Speaking as a woman myself, perhaps it would have been better if the 19th Amendment had never passed. First Harding and now Hillary. How dumb can women be?

Conservatives need to throw themselves in the culture war.  The Kaepernick capers reminded me of something rather sad about conservatives:  we like fussing about things on Facebook, and we’ll boycott things that don’t really matter (forget Target; let’s go to WalMart), but we will not make an effort where it inconveniences us or ruins one of our pleasures. I’m guilty myself, in that I shop at Costco, which is owned by a rabid Hillary supporter. Shopping at Costco makes my life easier (and cheaper) and I’ve been unwilling to forego that.

John Hawkins points out that other conservatives, if they’re disturbed by the disrespect for our flag and our national anthem at sporting events need to stop going and stop watching:

CONSERVATIVES are why these overgrown jackasses can continue to be unpatriotic. That’s because you’re the people who are offended by their behavior, but you won’t do anything about it. That’s the same reason conservatives have lost the schools, Hollywood, the mainstream media and it’s why the NFL is turning into a bigger, even dumber version of the Daily Kos. If liberals are going to reward you for trashing America and conservatives aren’t going to punish you for it, a certain percentage of people are going to take advantage of that. That’s just the way of the world and as we see again and again and again, it’s a slippery slope. Today it’s the NFL; tomorrow it’ll be the NBA and MLB. Next thing you know, the NFL will be making kids listen to a lecture from Al Gore before they start the NFL Punt, Pass & Kick program while the adults will be forced to watch anti-gun lectures at half time. Why wouldn’t they do that if liberals will swoon over them in the press and conservatives will keep giving them money?

He’s got a point. Maybe it’s time to cross Costco off my list. (I can’t cross much else off, because I’ve pretty much removed myself from pop culture and I like my affordable generic products.

To read more, please go here.

The post As you watch the debate, remember that culture war matters appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.

[AUDIO] A dramatic reading of a rebuttal to Lionel Shriver’s plea to end “cultural appropriation” totalitarianism

A new thing called cultural appropriation is suddenly in the news lately. Just yesterday, designer Marc Jacobs was in the news because the Social Justice Warriors were appalled that his runway models — mostly white — wore fake, multi-colored dreadlocks.  (SJWs have a real problem with white people wearing dreads.) That they said, speaking in English, which is probably not a “heritage tongue” for many of them, was impermissible cultural appropriation. To his credit, Jacobs had a great bitchy comeback and refused to apologize. Jacobs is not the only cultural icon pushing back against the totalitarian impulse behind the SJW’s attacks on so-called “cultural appropriation.”

Lionel Shriver, a well-known American novelist, got invited to give the keynote speech at the Brisbane [Australia] Writer’s Festival. Her speech was entitled “Fiction and Identity Politics.” However, she had a surprise for an audience expecting her to tell them that the only person who can write about American Blacks is an American Black, the only person who can write about gay men is a gay man, etc.  Instead, she launched a polite and comprehensive attack against the stifling effect on fiction when an author stands accused of cultural appropriation. For those of us who value free speech, and who fear the totalitarian instincts behind the social justice warrior’s attacks on free speech through the vehicle of identity politics, it was a call to arms:

I hate to disappoint you folks, but unless we stretch the topic to breaking point this address will not be about “community and belonging.” In fact, you have to hand it to this festival’s organisers: inviting a renowned iconoclast to speak about “community and belonging” is like expecting a great white shark to balance a beach ball on its nose.

The topic I had submitted instead was “fiction and identity politics,” which may sound on its face equally dreary.

But I’m afraid the bramble of thorny issues that cluster around “identity politics” has got all too interesting, particularly for people pursuing the occupation I share with many gathered in this hall: fiction writing. Taken to their logical conclusion, ideologies recently come into vogue challenge our right to write fiction at all. Meanwhile, the kind of fiction we are “allowed” to write is in danger of becoming so hedged, so circumscribed, so tippy-toe, that we’d indeed be better off not writing the anodyne drivel to begin with.

A good start to a speech, right? It got better from there. Shriver’s factual starting point was an incident at Bowdoin College, a small, prestigious liberal arts college way up in Maine (annual tuition around $45,000). Bowdoin’s grammatically creative “purpose” statement promises that it offers incoming students an “intellectual challenge and personal growth in the context of an active and engaged learning community closely linked to the social and natural worlds”:

A liberal education cultivates the mind and the imagination; encourages seeking after truth, meaning, and beauty; awakens an appreciation of past traditions and present challenges; fosters joy in learning and sharing that learning with others; supports taking the intellectual risks required to explore the unknown, test new ideas and enter into constructive debate; and builds the foundation for making principled judgments. It hones the capacity for critical and open intellectual inquiry – the interest in asking questions, challenging assumptions, seeking answers, and reaching conclusions supported by logic and evidence. A liberal education rests fundamentally on the free exchange of ideas – on conversation and questioning – that thrives in classrooms, lecture halls, laboratories, studios, dining halls, playing fields, and dormitory rooms.Ultimately, a liberal education promotes independent thinking, individual action,and social responsibility.  (Emphasis mine.)

Think of this self-praise when you think of the incident Shriver talks about:  Two well-respected Bowdoin students threw a tequila party for a friend and, in keeping with the theme, gave guests little miniature sombreros:

To read more (and hear the audio), please go here.