The pressure upon even very minor public figures to bend a knee to radical progressivism is nearing terrorist proportions. It’s reminiscent of the Mob’s glory days, when store-owners would pay “protection money” to local thugs so that their merchandise wouldn’t end up out in the street and their right arm in a sling. Does that overstate the rawness of today’s intimidation-dealers, do you think? I admit that every pronouncement on current events seems hyperbolic in the Twitter Age, which thrives on the “I’ll find your kids and sell them to a cartel pimp” kind of utterance engineered to get views.
Yet when a robust young man virtually breaks into tears during a press conference—and this merely because he Tweeted, “You’re Gay!” to a friend while both parties were high school students—the look and smell of terror cling to the incident. Everything this boy in his early twenties has ever worked for not only teeters over the abyss, but its threatened plunge beyond the edge would leave him professionally stigmatized forever in our sad, twisted world as “the gay-bashing kid”.
My reference is to baseball player Trey Turner—one of a growing list of boy/men in that sport whose Twitter past is being researched with NSA-caliber rigor by unnamed Thought Police and punished with Kafkaesque solemnity by ESPN’s mind-control goons. Another lad named Sean Newcomb was targeted on the day when he almost threw a no-hitter, as if to send the message, “Feel comfortable in your success? Don’t. We’re watching you, and we can come for you whenever we like.” A somewhat more mature victim this week, All Star outfielder J.D. Martinez, refused to present his throat to hounds of the press corps when questioned (read “harassed”) about a Tweet from five years ago featuring Hitler’s mug. The contention appears to have been floated that Martinez was high-fiving the Fuehrer, even though the post clearly connected the Nazi policy of collecting privately owned firearms with the birth of a civil nightmare. Logic isn’t required in these terrorist assaults, however. “I mean… you want individuals to have the right to own guns, correct, J.D.? So why are you not a Nazi? See, there’s Hitler’s pic in your post.”
A “defense” I read of Martinez even rebuked him for being so indiscreet as to employ a Fuerher-image. What? This “off-limit association” code was apparently violated within hours from another quarter, when Florida representative Ron Desantis flirted with “racism” by using a morph of the phrase, “monkey around”. “I mean… I mean, everybody knows that white folks think of black folks when they hear the word ‘monkey’—right? I mean, those white folks, not the ones like me. I mean, I don’t have those thoughts… but I know they do, and we need to slap those people down or they’ll start lynching by torchlight. Just like the Hitler photo. I know how Martinez intended that—don’t give me that crap about reading his Tweet!”
Really sick of this, my friends… and yes, it’s nascent terrorism—and yes, it’s getting worse. For the record, may I say in a small voice that I am extremely offended at the arrogantly implied association of the loaded Ruger at my bedside with Nazi politics? The chances of a squad car reaching our remote rustic dwelling on a treacherous dirt road in timely fashion if someone should kick in our window at midnight are… well, about the same as getting the Nazi-calling lynch mob to pipe down and hear me out. My previous house, located smack between a state university and a city school in a town of almost one hundred thousand, had its back door kicked wide open in broad daylight one beautiful November morning. After discovering the raid on all of our portable electronics when I returned for lunch and calling 911, I waited (wondering if the looters were truly finished or would reappear) for an hour… whereupon a lone officer—a young woman who seemed to be on her first assignment—took a quick stroll through the main hall and then asked me if I’d interviewed the neighbors. Not exactly the protocol that The First 48 had led me to expect.
So… do I get to register offense if you not only tee up my wife and me for murder by home-invaders, but call us Nazis because we want a six-shot piece handy to give us a chance? No, I’m out of order. I don’t belong to an “offense-eligible” class.
Actually, I get offended all the time by the maniacally violent movie-teasers with which I’m assaulted while trying to watch an episode of Expedition Unknown before bed. Curious and ironic, isn’t it, that the very people who want me utterly disarmed also grind out an incessant stream of sadistic claptrap glorifying counter-conformist, bullet-spraying outlaws. I don’t watch movies. I haven’t paid to see a film since we took our son (in early youth) to Wallace and Grommet and the Wer-Rabbit. What offends me, I emphasize, is the twenty second blitz on my evening’s peace by punks waving guns in people’s faces, shooting off smart-ass remarks, skidding cars over bridges, and disrobing women on the kitchen counter. It all happens too fast even for me to sit up and grab the remote stick (which does everything but probate your will). Why do I have to put up with this? It’s offensive.
Too bad. Any offense I register is deserved. I belong to the “unoffendable class”.
The new series of Sling commercials offends me in a different way. These silly skits obviously bank upon the viewer’s being versed enough in street lingo to catch some allusion to “swing” or “swinging”: I’m supposed to guffaw, that is, as the idiot male starts to strip while other people in the room are watching Sling on TV. Takes me back to my first days teaching high school, when you couldn’t use the word “come” because it had some connection to coitus. I don’t turn the box on for a few minutes in order to be transported back into the world of eighth-grade bathroom stalls. I’m offended.
So deal with it. No one cares.
—But the #MeToo movement demands that every male behave like Beau Brummell… and this kind of humor…
—You don’t have any sense of humor, man. Your ignorance of the urban dictionary is really tedious. Nobody cares about your dead Puritan white guy hang-ups. We’ll tell you when to laugh and when to turn to stone. So watch for the cues. Otherwise, just f— off!
I’ve spent too much time in this column’s space, perhaps, chronicling my irritation at how the Confederacy is portrayed in popular culture. The vast majority of Southern soldiers owned no slaves, the Emancipation Proclamation did not liberate slaves held in Northern states, miscegenation laws existed in the South rather than the North because (as Tocqueville and others remark) a Northerner would not ever have dreamed of so “degrading” a union… Richard Robert O’Madden witnessed a budding riot when he was observed attending mass with black Catholics in New York City two decades before the Civil War, which was itself a looting expedition that left blacks and whites alike destitute throughout Virginia and the Carolinas… but no, but no, I’m all wrong again. Southerners are bigots and racists. The war was fought only so that these redneck degenerates might keep their slaves: even Glenn Beck insists upon this staple of Hollywood historicizing, and hits his period hard.
So… take your Southern-fried offended feelings and shove them, buddy. We’re tearing down all those racist statues and purging all those racist names from school books—except as examples of racism. The KKK march in Charlottesville showed all of you for what you are. We don’t care about your objections, about your counter-arguments and documented evidence. You don’t belong to that class.
And who, exactly, belongs to the “offense-eligible” class? Women and blacks, of course—but not black women whose politics are wrong, like Mia Love and Candace Owens; gays, lesbians, and “trans” people—but not those like Milo Yiannopoulos and Tammy Bruce whose politics are wrong; any religious people whose faith claims only a small minority in a Christian society—but not those like Dr. Zuhdi Jasser and Dr. Qanta Ahmed whose politics are wrong. Politics, it appears, plays a decisive role. Why, you can even be a white male born of Angles and Saxons yet enjoy protected status if your politics is proper. You might feel Cherokee or African today, and you can always declare yourself representative of an undiscovered gender.
Are you laughing? Were you once laughing, perhaps, as a boy of fifteen? Then we’ll have your carcass. The Turner boy’s career was almost ruined in a trice, though his public apologies were so abject that he seems to have earned probation. Martinez’s fate is probably secure just because Boston’s hope of a pennant hangs heavily upon him. These fellows, you will have noticed, are not public figures in any sense that might affect policy. They have not even been engaged in that celebrity advocacy of political positions so familiar in Tinseltown. All the better to make the point, to transmit the message: “Don’t you cross us. Don’t you dare even joke about us—even as a child. All you children, watch closely if you want to survive as adults. We closed up all the shops on that side of the street. We can do your side, too, if you don’t give us the free choice of your merchandise when we walk in.”
This is definitive thuggery. Are there enough adults with vertebral columns left to tell these punks to stop waving their guns?