David A. French wrote a piece about race politics and white privilege in the National Review. I thought it was dreck.
I’m not exclusively pointing out David A. French and his article Identity Politics Are Ripping us Apart. But its content is boilerplate writing that touches upon all the things that make right wing thought formulaic, predictable and boring. So I’m only going to use it because it’s one of the last things I’ve bothered to read from the NRO (National Review Online) in a long time. Almost to the article, any NRO piece that deals with social issues approaches it from the same exact perspective. To prove so, I have provided a bullet point presentation below. I must mention in all fairness, almost every major opinion outlet on the right is in violation of the same formulaic laziness that has rendered right wing social thought as an out of touch, out of date, institution that bothers not with building a proper vocabulary fortress to combat the left on social issues, but are no more than glorified vanity presses that only seek to elevate rising stars and increase clicks.
I won’t get into the other outlets. I think by far the biggest culprit to bear the brunt of criticism is the NRO because of its status as the peacock prancing Ivy League Standard bearers. They are the commanding, unchallenged champions of the intellectual treasure that guides right wing thought from the top down for more than half a century. I think they’re a bunch of bums and the only thing worse than William F. Buckley’s corpse of work is the National Review Online.
If the NRO is Ivy League and is beyond reproach then I am happily a dissident from the unwashed masses. I will say I am a 20+ year observer of the political circus. I am an audience member crashing the party only to see it’s really as fucking lame as I thought it was.
Ok, no more talking for another 1k words like the NRO would do. Here are the core points almost all right wing articles say in order to fill real estate:
Invoking MLK or Gandhi or some other fossil
The only surprise in David’s article is that it took him to the halfway point to invoke MLK and his “content of his character” speech when indicting the left. Do you not get the left has long abandoned what was a temporary tactic to gain moral high ground 50+ years ago. Stop banging your head on the MLK thing. It was just a vernacular tactic that has only been kept alive by right wingers. The best thing to happen to lazy right wing commentators was MLK the martyr. They constantly invoke him or Gandhi. Do you know your audience? The left isn’t reading you, so you aren’t shaming them into repentance. No one on the left cares about content of character. Do you really think the people reading your stuff care about MLK or that racist punk Gandhi? You know big G hated black people, right? Next!
Giving an anecdotal example of how they feel left out
The first few sentences of the article goes right into the example of being called out as a “white male” and how that was meant to leave him out of the conversation. Out of the conversation, you say? Out of the conversation at…wait for kids…LAW SCHOOL! Ha! Dude, for a huge swath of the country being left out of the conversation while in law school seems like a preposterous privilege. Not to mention lazy. You made it to law school, out maneuver you opponents with some logical and linguistic acrobatics. This is what I mean by the right having no vocabulary to combat the left. Next!
Staying on the defense.
When evoking history, and using that as an argument outside of the scholarly setting means you are on the defensive. In the dog fight battle that is raging across the country no one wants you to incite Queensberry rules for historical perspective as the main argument for why the other side isn’t playing fair. Sure, a history lesson is fine. No problem. But we have all heard how black people sold black people into slavery. We all know this. They all know this. For the purposes of the dog fight, no one cares. Next!
Offering no real offense. But pointing out how the left is violating something. Tattletale.
Yes, there are white males living in trailer parks and have no real chance of realizing true privilege. So? Do you think the left cares that you point out the inaccuracies of their blanket statements on gender and race? Next!
Pleading like a Bitch.
“I prefer to speak in terms not of pride, but of gratitude.” Really? This is what gets me going about right wing commentators. Tone. They get right up to that point of making a real breakthrough and then delve into pleading like a bitch. David, your family came over on the Mayflower. Be loud and proud of it. If it wasn’t for their sacrifices the rest of the bums running around America would be stuck in god awful countries. It was your forbearers that made this democracy possible. You know the mark of a winner country is when everyone wants to come to it. You know the mark of a failed country when everyone wants to leave it. You, David are part of that grand legacy that my forbearers benefited from.
David, thank you….Next!
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