"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Friday, October 22, 2021

Cancel All White Men–They Are So Toxic Their Names Should Be Replaced By Numbers

A neighbor was overheard recently praising the cancel culture.  Not only were Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington slave-owning immoralists, when you came right down to it all men were oppressors and social reprobates.  

Not only should we topple the statues of the worst historical offenders and rename the streets, schools, and libraries named after them, we should stop naming things, period.  That would assure future generations of a value-neutral, inoffensive, accommodating, comfortable life – or at least be a big step in that direction; and it would do its share of ridding today’s reminders of male toxicity.

Image result for images thomas jefferson

So, return Jefferson Davis Highway in Virginia to Route 1 and be done with it, revert to indicating  all public schools by number (PS 1, PS 2), and legislate against named-for private buildings.  Foundation buildings (Ford, Carnegie, Rockefeller, Mellon), private apartment buildings (Trump Tower), and suburban developments (Petrucci Road, DiLoreto Drive) all should revert to numbers, addresses, points on GPS.

Women, however, should be given a bye, and in fact every time the name of a male misogynist or slaver was removed, that of a woman should replace it.  A good example was the decision to replace the image of Andrew Jackson on the US$20 with that of Harriet Tubman.  Few people had ever heard of Tubman, and her accomplishments pale in comparison with those of Jackson, military hero of the War of 1812, President of the United States, Justice on the Tennessee Supreme Court, multi-term member of Congress, statesman, and patriot.

Because he was an expansionist and a supporter of forcibly resettling Native Americans west of the Mississippi River, and because he was opposed to the radical politics of Northern abolitionists, his history, his accomplishments, and he himself will disappear thanks to the politically myopic, revisionist liberalism of the day. 

In fact Tubman was the perfect choice for the Left – a two-for-one, a black woman and an unknown one at that, a loud slamming of the door against any suggestion of greatness, a concept discredited and dismissed by the deconstructionists who provide the ‘intellectual’ basis for the progressive movement.

Image result for images andrew jackson

The fact that Harriet Tubman is a nobody was the whole point.  There is no such thing as genius according to Derrida and Lacan; and focus on the works of Shakespeare, Faulkner, or Tolstoy as artistic expressions ignores the valueless, neutral, historical influences which determined every verse and every line.  

All public figures whether Aristotle, the Sun King, Genghis Khan, or Donald Trump must be looked at only through the lens of race, gender, ethnicity, and economics.  A Streetcar Named Desire, recounted a Derrida associate, is nothing more than a cautionary tale of the oppressive nature of society, its wholly corrupting influence, and its disruption and damage to human enterprise.

Get over the fact that the Founding Fathers were not great but only timebound, historical pawns whose actions were but reflections of the random events that preceded them.  Once this understanding is clear, the removal of Jackson by Tubman makes absolute sense.  

The US Treasury was not toppling an icon, but simply erasing him and penciling in someone with irrelevance in the long term, but significant in the short term.  Tubman, as Derrida liked to explain, is a signifier, a signpost, a stone marker hammered  in at the junction of past and present.

Image result for images deconstructionist nonsense

The current age, say postmodernists, needs signposts, indicators, and signifiers; and since the social reform juggernaut favors women over men, why not chisel a few more stone effigies along the way?  Once women’s innate superiority is realized, understood, appreciated, and praised, then their names can be removed from public view and replaced by numbers; but until then, it is a women-everywhere moment.

Of course today’s progressives are post-modern when it suits them, rabidly feminist when it does not.  Although they see the irony of the selection of Harriet Tubman for the $20, they would prefer more notable, exceptional women on other currency. 

The search for such exceptional women is not easy, of course, because the times being what they were, women were restricted in their choices, consigned to Kinder, Küche, Kirche and subject to the whims and prerogatives of men.  So for every Mme. Curie there were a million scullery maids, wet nurses, dutiful partners, and dull, routine housewives. Although women are now coming into their own and the crop of excellence is growing, it used to be slim pickins.

This is what led to the neighbor’s crowing so loudly about enumerating things rather than naming them.  When pressed to create a list of the ten most influential women in history, she got only as far as Elizabeth I, and even then the Queen had inherited her position, made the most of it, but didn’t exactly work for it.  So numbering covers over the historical gender lacunae, gives time and space until today’s women are able to be named.

Image result for images nyc numbered street signs

The most important thing, said the neighbor, was to rid things of men and men’s things.  Every man, she said, was guilty of some offense against women whether adultery, abuse, discomfiture, marginalization, or downright patriarchal oppression; and since most things were named for men, replacing names by numbers was fitting, appropriate, correct, and a long time coming.

This is important not because of the salience or even relevance of the neighbor’s thoughts – she was as muddled as any progressive who misreads history or reads only the pleasing bits, ignoring the fact that men were responsible for the great civilizations of the world from Plato and Aristotle, to Jesus Christ, Genghis Khan, Ashoka, Chandra Gupta, Meiji, Akihito, and Louis XIV – but because she is not alone.  

The facile notions of expungement and erasure are all too common.  It is far easier to tar with the same brush or to erase with the same eraser than to disaggregate, analyze, and choose.

Image result for images louis xvi france

Then again, perhaps this is unfair.  America is a quick-fix culture without the patience for slow, deliberate change; and is utopian to boot.  The combination is deadly, and the result is the cancel culture, a movement which requires only a suspension of critical analysis and judgment for membership.  

Anyone who has taken even the simplest introductory course in World History wants to run for the exits.  The Hittites, tariff and trade disputes, armies and crusades, the miasma of Chinese imperial intrigues, hundreds and hundreds of wars, civil conflicts, and tribal realignments.  Sea power, cannonades, castle keeps, and Charlemagne at Roncesvalles.  Not only can one not possibly keep all that in one’s head, but why bother?

The neighbor’s rants became only louder and more insistent the more the environment of her neighborhood became more progressive, and there seemed to be no stopping the almost universal political hysteria that had taken over.  Black Lives Matter, Everyone Is Welcome, and Hate Has No Home Here lawn signs were everywhere.  All curbside discussions turned quickly to the evil reprobate in the White House, the capitalist scourge, and the inherent systemic racism of America.

No more chit-chat about potholes and garbage pickup.  The times were too troubled, and the dark forces of the Right were alive and well. If the neighbor and her neighbors could have their way, every scintilla of conservatism would be erased, dismissed, expunged, and forgotten just like Thomas Jefferson.  Doctrinal purity was the meme of the day, and the purification of the country could happen only if enough people believed.

The removal of toxic maleness, patriarchy, and the burdensome, angering, marauding male kings and emperors, wicked husbands, and faithless suitors is the key to revolution.  Timidity, collusion and collaboration in the name of respect for difference of opinions cannot be tolerated.  The new age of authoritative righteousness has arrived.  Just do it!

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