Playing the Indian Card

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Lay Off Joni Mitchell

People are getting on Joni Mitchell’s case now. I wish they would stop. One of the great things about Canadians used to be that they did not devour their heroes. They just ignored them. Better that than the ugly dance of envy, pulling people down because they can do things you can’t.

No doubt Mitchell should stop giving interviews. But she is not responsible for the harshness of her comments. She is fighting a life and death struggle against the forces of darkness that the rest of us can only imagine.

For decades, she says, she has been suffering from Morgellones Disease. The evidence suggests that this is a mental illness rather than a physical condition. No matter; it involves constant pain, as if there were little bugs always moving under your skin. On top of this, she admits to bouts of extreme paranoia.

Who in the world would not be irritable?

This is the kind of price commonly paid for the kind of talent Joni has. Remember Robin Williams a few months ago? You don’t do that stuff without intimate contact with the spirit world. And there are things in the spirit world more terrible as well as more wonderful than anything out of doors.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Why China Won't Fall Apart?

David P. “Spengler” Goldman, who qualifies as a China Hand, says the Chinese government is not about to fall apart. He gives two reasons:

  1. China is in the middle of a golden age, and
  2. China has no tradition of democracy to look back on. 

These are differences between China and Eastern Europe in the late 1980s. But his focus is far too narrow. It does not follow that China's government is secure.

It is not economic decline that causes revolutions or dissatisfaction with government. In a really good stiff decline, everyone is too busy just trying to survive. Governments collapse more often when a period of generally rising expectations rather suddenly hits a disappointment. For example, Russia in 1911 was roughly where China is today: growing at a faster rate than anyone else, and on the verge of taking its position as a world leader. Germany pushed the world into the Great War primarily because it feared Russia and calculated that if it waited only a few years more, Russia would be too strong and would begin to dominate.

The collapse of the Russian government came six years later.

England was in a similar position in the middle of the nineteenth century. She was economically dominant, and the Industrial Revolution was causing a general rise in prosperity. Yet it was right in the middle of this that she faced the Chartist revolt, which came close at least to bringing down the government.

The French Revolution, the American Revolution: these were not economic backwaters, but strong and wealthy states at the time of their revolutions. The French Revolution was preceded by the Sun King and followed by Napoleon—surely the Golden Age for France.

Second point: since democracy is not the only alternative here, not having a tradition of democracy is also not very relevant. It was not a general hankering for democracy that caused the fall of the Qing Dynasty either. Or the Ming Dynasty, or the Yuan Dynasty, or the Tang Dynasty, or the Sung Dynasty, or the Xin Dynasty, or the Qin Dynasty, or the Shang Dynasty ... perhaps you begin to see a pattern here.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Try That Again with a Hijab.

Someone has done it! The catcalling video experiment, again in New York City, with and without a hijab. The hijab neatly and easily solves the problem, as I expected. This is one good reason why it is growing in popularity throughout the Middle East.

Note too that, if the men meant any harm, the jijab should make no difference.

Kiwis Do Not Call Cats

Interesting to note that the first known attempt, above, to reproduce the experiment in the New York cat-calling video has proven a failure.

The explanation advanced by the New Zealand press, naturally enough, is that Aucklanders are simply more decorous and polite than New Yorkers. This may well be so. Almost all of the men in the original video who were so forward and cruel as to wish the passing woman a nice day were apparently either black or Hispanic; there may be a relative shortage of blacks and Hispanics in New Zealand's North Island. 

I once lived in a black neighbourhood in the US, and enjoyed the general tendency to greet strangers in the street. Old women would pass me and ask “how you percolating, boy?” I enjoyed living in a Portuguese neighbourhood in Toronto for the same reason. Some women, for whatever reason, perhaps an innate hatred or fear of men, may not like it so much. Anglo neighbourhoods tend to be a bit more emotionally isolationist, in my experience, and New Zealand may be one big Anglo neighbourhood, in comparison to New York.

But I note something else, which I suspect is crucial. This New Zealand women, although I think she is objectively more attractive than the New York walker, is not employing the latter's so-called “neutral” expression—the faint scowl and the refusal of eye contact. She is interacting normally with her environment.

You want people to try and get your attention, I'd say that New York zombie walk is a good way to do it.

I really do hope others try to repeat the experiment.

The War of 1812 Memorial on Parliament Hill

War of 1812 Memorial, photo courtesy Ottawa Citizen. Left to right: Indian warrior, Canadian militiaman, Newfoundland Fencible, Canadian Voltigeur, Metis cannoneer.

I suppose all nations falsify their histories. It is just more embarrassing to see one's own country do it.

I refer to the new monument to the War of 1812 unveiled on Parliament Hill, “Trial through Diversity.”

The title is already a bad sign, isn't it? Diversity is a big current political value. Does it really apply to the War of 1812, or are we snuggling up together in a Procrustean Bed?

So in the present statue, unveiled to mark the 200th anniversary of the last shot on Canadian soil, we have seven semi-symbolic figures, supposed together to express the “diversity” so important for the defence of Canada in 1812. There are both significant omissions from and additions to the historical record here. Both smell bad.

Most notable is the absence of the British Army. As in, the main force involved. Granted, the Royal Navy is here, as it ought to be. And supposedly, the British Army is represented by the Royal Newfoundland Fencibles. The Royal Newfoundlanders, as a unit, are deserving of recognition; and one can see the political need to include the Atlantic Provinces in the display. But this was not a British formation; it was a locally-raised militia force. And its successor unit is a part of the Canadian, not the British, forces.

No doubt the Canadian government sees no political capital to be gained by honouring a foreign army. But this is ungracious, and, in the end, unnecessary. In fact, a huge proportion of the British soldiery who served in Canada in 1812 ended up staying and settling here, so that their descendants are indeed Canadians.

The second omission is the native contribution. Granted, there is a native figure included, but he is inaccurately posed. He is not shown with a weapon, but pointing the way—as if the native contribution was primarily the job of scouting. The faithful Indian sidekick, like Tonto and the Lone Ranger. This amounts to a radical devaluation in comparison to the reality, which is that native arms under Tecumseh, the Six Nations, and the Mohawks if the St. Lawrence were crucial to the entire affair. It is rather as if a British soldier were portrayed as unarmed and pointing the way for an American GI to commemorate the Second World War. Would that convey a true picture?

Now for the odd additions: the most egregious, and most political, is the woman bandaging the hand of a Voltigeur. Of course, to appease the feminist lobby, they had to work in a woman somehow. They figured they could not credibly pretend that women were fighting, so they threw in a nurse. There must have been nurses, right? Unfortunately for them, it being a long time before Florence Nightingale, there weren't. Each outfit was accompanied by a surgeon for the succor of the wounded; who was, of course, always male.

Then there is the odd anachronism of a Metis firing a cannon. Technically speaking, there must have been a reasonable number of “Metis,” that is, people of mixed European and Indian ancestry, fighting in the war. But they would not, at this period, have thought of themselves as Metis. That concept, and that distinct culture, emerged later, on the Prairies. At this time, they would have been considered, and would have seen themselves as, either French Canadian, English Canadian, or Mohawk, Wyandote, Ojibway. The “Metis” cannoneer has been thrown in for the sake of the historical illusion that Western Canada was somehow involved in the conflict.

To my mind, it demeans the heroes actually involved in the conflict to ignore some of their closest comrades, and then to make them share their honours with strangers who were not there.

Perhaps the larger problem is the idea of putting up statues to groups of people rather than to individuals. This, after all, is the sort of thing that characterizes totalitarian regimes, and perhaps there is a reason for that: lusty, smiling peasants raising their sickles in unison. It encourages groupthink, and represses ideas of individuality. That makes people easier to manage. Because the figures being portrayed are fictional to begin with, their characters and imaginary deeds can be manipulated freely by the powers that be to suit their present needs, and no real deeds or actual characters can be cited to serve as a check on their actions. It becomes so inconvenient, for example, to have someone point out that Martin Luther King was actually against racial preferences.

Secord warns FitzGibbon of the American advance at Beaver Dam.

If you really want to celebrate the female contribution to the War of 1812, you could, of course, put up a statue of Laura Secord. What is wrong with Laura Secord, but that her real life and real views might come in conflict with the needs of modern feminism? To celebrate the native contribution, why not a statue of Tecumseh? To celebrate the British regular, there was a chap named Sir Isaac Brock some of you may have heard about—not to mention sadly underappreciated but admirable working-class soldiers like James FitzGibbon. Unfortunately, FitzGibbon had the bad taste not to die young, so that he left many known opinions behind him.

Tecumseh. More than just a handy index finger.
Real people, even when long dead, are so much more difficult than fictional cartoon corporate images to mold to current political ends.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Nothing to See Here

No, it was not "Canada's 9/11." No, the system did not break down. It was no big deal, and the security worked about as well as could be hoped.

Bottom line, it was only one guy, and he only managed to kill one guy. By shooting him in the back. You can never prevent that sort of thing.

Enough with the sensationalism and melodrama.

The Empress Has No Clothes

There has been a lot of coverage of this video of a woman walking the streets of New York City over the past few days.

However, while all the headlines I see are declaring it evidence of the terrible problem of harassment faced by women, virtually all of the comments by readers, male and female, are saying it shows no such thing. This amounts to a graphic example of how the “legacy media” have lost touch with, and lost the confidence of, their audience.

I have to agree with the commentators. With the exception of one guy who walks beside the woman for an alleged five minutes, nothing else here seems to come anywhere near harassment. It is mostly a matter of men saying “good morning” or “God bless you,” or at worst, something along the lines of “you're beautiful.” How can this woman possibly take offence? If this is harassment, wouldn't we all like to be a bit more harassed?

Okay, conceivably, for a beautiful woman, this might end up being too much of a good thing. Might it get draining after a while?

Perhaps; the video makers, a feminist advocacy group, do their best to make this look to be the case. But it is worth remembering that this is, by their own admission, a condensation of ten hours of walking. At one point, someone says "good morning," and in the very next shot, it is night. Although the makers claim the woman was harassed “108” times, the video actually shows only twenty incidents of any kind, benevolent or not. Given that they are an advocacy group and not a neutral party, one assumes that, had they anything else that looked even remotely like harassment, we would be looking at it.

So we are left with twenty unsolicited comments over ten hours. That's two random greetings per hous. I think most of us could live with that. If we have ever lived in a small town, we have lived with that, and more. In terms of time, she was obliged to recognize the existence of other people for two minutes (seven, perhaps, if you count the guy who allegedly walks with her for five minutes) out of ten hours. This does not seem like an unsupportable burden. If you think this is tough, try, as a European-looking person, walking the streets of China or Korea. Indeed, some commentators have wondered why all but one of the alleged "harassers" turn out to be non-white, and accuse the video, illogically, of "racism" as a result. Might it be that in Harlem or Spanish Harlem, a young European woman walking alone has a bit of novelty value?

Two unsolicited greetinga an hour certainly does not seem enough to excuse the rudeness of the woman's own behaviour in refusing to acknowledge or make eye contact with anyone. Indeed, I suspect this posture of being itself provocative. It is like a challenge to atttract her attention in some way. I imagine she would have gotten more peace and quiet without it.

But let's suppose this sort of thing really is a problem. How do we solve it? By trying to have the ppolice arrest any man who tries to talk to a stsange woman? Completely impractical, in the first place. In the second, it would mean the extinction of the species, which does seem a bit like overkill.

On the other hand, if any woman does find this kind of thing objectionable in any way, there is a simple and readily available solution: the abaya. This is no doubt why the abaya is growing in popularity among Muslim women everywhere. No fuss, no bother--just slip it on before you go out, and you become invisible. The moment you are in the mood for attention, slip it off and fold in into your purse. If you do not want to look specifically Muslim, a traditional Amish-style dress and a mantilla would probably work just as well. Do you imagine that nuns get harassed in this way? I doubt it.

There is a reason for such traditions as the abaya, or the old Korean one of women staying inside during the day, and men staying inside at night. It is feminism which has insisted and still insists on abolishing all of them. If feminist do not like the result, they have only themselves to blame. It is perverse to blame men.

The men would, of course, harass nuns as well, if they truly had any conceivable sort of ill intention. They do not. It is simply a matter of their being unable to read a woman's mind. Consider: you are a young woman walking alone down the street. Unless your dress says clearly something different, this implies that you are single and eligible. It is the obligation of the man to make the first approach . In those cases when they are not simply being friendly, and with the single exception of the creey stalker guy, that is all these men are doing.

Of course, the reason why most American women do not wear an abaya or its equivalent is that they do in fact want to be approached by men, and indeed at any time. The problem is that they want to be approached only by men whom they find attractive and desirable. 

Unfortunately, however, as noted, men cannot read minds, any more than women can. These guys do not know in advance whether this woman will find them attractive. 

Some--essentially, the people in the legacy media--seem to have become so blinded by ideology that they cannot see any innocent explanation for the events in the video. All men must be presumed to be monsters, and anything they do must be sinister. They are all rapists and pedophiles. No doubt some women who have survived the sexual revolution have been damaged by sexual traumas, and have extrapolated this into a hatred of all men. That may, it occurs to me, be a major element of the feminist world-view. Sure sounds like what happened to Andrea Dworkin. But if so, they are completely unjustified. Feminists were in the forefront of the sexual revolution as much as anyone, and they refuse as much as anyone to withdraw their endorsement of it now. They have kicked down all the old channels of communication and of goodwill between men and women, and need not now be surprised if confusion and mixed messages are the result. 

It may be, too, that the media folks are as aware as their readers and viewers that there is nothing to see here. But they dare not say it, for fear of being accused of being sexist, not to mention losing their job or worse.

 But the ordinary readers, who have the option generally of remaining anonymous in their comments, or at least have less invested in being part of the establishment, have no such qualms.

The whispering has begun in the back rows: the Empress actually has no clothes.

I am beginning to get the definite feeling that feminism is finally on the way out.