Send in the Virtuous Clowns
In an astoundingly “unwoke” segment on Weekend Update: Summer Edition, comedian Tina Fey appeared last week with a sheet cake and urged her fellow always-on-the-moral-high-road progressive warriors to engage in stress eating instead of confronting neo-Nazis and white supremacists. While on some levels, it’s reasonable advice, it also (pardon the pun) sugar coats the real problem. Unfortunately, her routine is what we’ve come to expect from late-night television’s “funny” people who, despite all their virtue signaling and “brave” words against hate groups, have marinated in rage since November 8.
It’s pretty sad that Fey’s cakeface is what passes for edgy comedy these days. Consider: Fey sat on a sound stage, surrounded by like-minded progressive drones, who provided the laugh track for what was basically a six-minute political monologue of one-sided, straw-man insults. She went after the usual conservative targets: “Then when Ann Coulter crawls out of her roach motel and says, ‘Antifa attacked Republicans in Berkeley,’ and you’re like ‘O.K., yard-sale Barbie, but the other side is Nazis and Klansmen. And also, who drove the car into the crowd, Hillary’s e-mails?”
Fey’s dishonest understatement is jaw-dropping. Antifa didn’t just “attack” Republicans. Members of the group tried to burn down the entire city of Berkeley, supposedly the birthplace of the free speech movement, to keep conservatives from speaking. They are neo-Stalinists who wish to threaten and intimidate anyone who disagrees with them, including people like Fey, if she crosses them and proves not to be radical enough to suit their tastes.
Leftist groups intent on suppressing speech are more dangerous than the half-witted white supremacists who showed up in Charlottesville. Both sides were armed to the teeth and out of control. However, only Antifa and Black Lives Matter have gained influence and support in some of the most prestigious educational institutions in the country. Much of the language and theoretical approaches of these groups originated in academia.
Just as eugenics was widely accepted in the academic community in the early twentieth century, humanities and social sciences curricula now have normalized the study of white privilege, and white students are asked to contemplate how their skin color has given them advantages over non-whites. Employees in colleges and universities are required to participate in training on intersectionality and asked to ponder how their citizenship, sexual orientation, class, and other circumstances have given them advantages over others. “Oh, it’s not to make anyone feel bad, defensive, or angry” everyone is reassured, “you can be privileged in one area and not privileged in another,” though the connections to progressive policy positions and the confessional tactics of the cultural revolutions in China and Cambodia are obvious to anyone familiar with politics and history.
This is not hyperbole. When I worked as an English teacher in China some twenty-five years ago, some of my older academic colleagues told me harrowing stories of being ordered into the Chinese countryside to work in the fields during the Cultural Revolution. As Helen Raleigh points out in The Federalist, China’s Cultural Revolution began at Beijing University, among a group of students known as the Red Guards, eager to create a communist utopia. Raleigh writes, “The Red Guards firmly believed that in order to build a new world, they had to wipe out the old one. So they traveled around the country, eradicating anything representing China’s feudalistic past: old customs, old cultures, old habits, and old ideas. Museums, temples, shrines, heritage sites, including Confucius’ tomb, were defaced, ransacked, or even totally destroyed.” Raleigh also states:
The Red Guards were fanatic about social classes and political identity. They believed they were the rightful heir to Mao’s socialist revolution and that only they and their chairman were on the right side of the history. Thus, they shouted down anyone who dared to show the slightest disagreement with slogans, such as “a complete confession is the only road to survival. Anything less will lead to death!”
The Red Guards were sources of terror. Professors, writers, scientists, artists, and even government officials were publicly paraded, denounced, humiliated, and tortured in public by the Red Guards and their supporters. Suicides among the persecuted were very common. The Red Guards even amplified their militant and violent nature by wearing special outfits: olive green People’s Liberation Army’s uniform with a red arm band.
In the United States, the preoccupation with race, class, and gender has not served to create civil, meaningful dialogue on college campuses. Rather, it has turned many young college students into emotional, angry, violent mobs that refuse to engage in any truly rigorous study of history or politics or brook any dissenting views. Universities like UC Berkeley, Evergreen State College, and the University of Virginia have become embroiled in social unrest. Recall that the recent tragedy in Charlottesville isn’t the first time that U of Virginia has made headlines recently. Just a few short years ago, the campus erupted in outrage over a story published in Rolling Stone magazine that chronicled an alleged fraternity gang rape. The story was ultimately discredited, and the magazine lost a defamation suit filed by one of the college deans, but not before the entire campus was consumed by the controversy.
Apparently, in Fey’s universe, these recurring problems in universities are no big deal. Masked protestors from/at elite, powerful schools embracing Stalinist/Maoist tactics and violence? Meh. Just a bunch of college kids having a good time, I guess. She said, “I’ve seen Raiders of the Lost Ark, and I wasn’t confused by it. Nazis are always bad,” as if that’s the point. Well, a lot of us have also seen The Killing Fields and weren’t confused by it either. Radical leftists are always bad, too, whether they’re in Cambodia, China, or the United States.
Apparently, all that sugar must have impacted Fey’s memory, because she doesn’t seem to recall that a leftist Bernie Sanders supporter tried to pull off a political assassination of Republican lawmakers in June. Donald Trump was absolutely right to condemn political violence on many sides, despite Fey’s and other progressives’ unwillingness to acknowledge outright that Antifa is a dangerous group that should itself be called out as a domestic terror organization. Of course, her message to progressives to stay home, while sane, is itself a tacit admission that the radical left protestors are just as violent and out of control as the far right. Unfortunately, it’s much more self-affirming to be holier-than-thou and ignore progressive jackbooted behavior.
If Ann Coulter is “yard-sale Barbie,” what is Fey? At least the conservative firebrand is brave enough to appear in front of a hostile audience and debate an actual position, unlike Fey, who holes up at NBC Studios or in some upscale Manhattan penthouse among her smug comrades who are willing to feed her addiction to confirmation bias and ignore the left’s brutality. Let’s see Fey appear before a room of conservatives at Liberty University and deliver a stand-up routine—or actually debate Coulter rather than playing Mean Girl and hiding behind the “I’m just a comedian” cop out. I’m sure she’d be treated with more respect and dignity than she and her SNL buddies treat conservatives who appear on that program. Instead, she’d rather stay in her safe space and regale us with surprising insights that we’ve never thought of, such as “White supremacy is bad!” Genius stuff.
Basically, she’s Marie Antionette Barbie, telling progressives to “eat cake.” Unfortunately for her, many of her fellow progressives found her routine insulting. One Twitter poster wrote, “There are like 10 famous women in all history, how do you not know to disassociate yourself from the one who ate cake during a revolution?”
Fey’s comments about neo-Nazis coming to New York brought about similar criticism. She said, “Part of me hopes these neo-Nazis do try [rallying] in New York City. I hope they try it and get the ham salad kicked out of them by a bunch of drag queens. Because you know what a drag queen still is? A 6’4″ black man.” In response, one Twitter user wrote, “I wonder if Tina Fey knows the idea that ‘black men are threatening’ is the same racist idea that gets them knee-jerk shot by police.” Another Twitter user said, “That Tina Fey bit on SNL was not funny. It is white privilege in action. Ignoring Nazis won’t make them go away.”
Cake Girl also launched into a litany of other condemnations, saying we “stole” the country from the Native Americans, perhaps suggesting that she looked up a few Howard Zinn quotes beforehand to make herself feel smart. If Fey presumes to be judge and jury for the sins of the country, she’s in a fine position to do something about past evils, like giving up all her wealth and privilege to the ancestors of some deserving Native American family displaced when Peter Minuit purchased Manhattan Island for below current market value. Those sorts of requests are already being made by certain Black Lives Matter leaders, like this one in Louisville, who has suggested that white people “who can afford to downsize should give up [their] homes to a black or brown family.”
Of course, that’ll never happen—unless the radical left gets what it wants and the country completely collapses into revolution. Then Antifa might take her stuff forcibly. Right now, Fey and other virtuous clowns simply want to lecture everyone else or offer a few mea culpas that don’t require them to actually do anything inconvenient or difficult.
If this political and social unrest plays out to its logical conclusion, though, Marie Antionette Barbie’s head might be the first one on the pike. Then other well-meaning but naïve progressives who’ve embraced the quasi-Marxist notion of “white privilege” may find themselves banished to the countrysides of Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi to pick cotton and atone for the sins of the past.
I certainly hope the republic is strong enough to withstand the current insanity perpetuated by the out-of-control, militant idiots on both sides and the moralizers. When an Asian-American ESPN reporter, Robert Lee, is asked not to cover a University of Virginia sporting event simply because he shares the same name as the famous Confederate general, the clown car is speeding toward the brick wall at warp speed.