The Marvelous Subversion of Mrs. Maisel

The 1950s has long been the Left’s favorite punching bag.

To those of the loud, urban, NYC-pseudo-intellectual milieu, the small towns of Mayberry, and wherever Ozzie and Harriet and ‘the Beave’ lived, are jokes, absurdist romanticizations of an era that never was, a place that never existed. That such relative utopias might have actually existed is never entertained, perhaps a projection of frustration from liberal messianists who’ve never been able to create a utopia themselves, though not for lack of Trying Real Hard.

In our current cultural climate, subtlety is out of style. Woke histrionics and shock value have the highest currency (The Handmaid’s Tale). History is written by the winners, and Hollywood has won. The awards season is less about merit and all about virtue signaling, ratings plummets be damned, and last night’s Emmy’s is a fresh reminder of this. One of last night’s big winners was a show called The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which took:

  • Comedy Series: “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
  • Actress, Comedy Series: Rachel Brosnahan, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
  • Supporting Actress, Comedy Series: Alex Borstein, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
  • Writing, Comedy Series: Amy Sherman-Palladino, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
  • Directing Comedy Series: Amy Sherman-Palladino, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”

The show’s premise, from Wikipedia:

It’s the late 1950s and Miriam “Midge” Maisel has everything she has ever wanted — the perfect husband, two kids and an elegant apartment on New York’s Upper West Side. Her seemingly idyllic life takes a surprising turn when she discovers a hidden talent she didn’t previously know she had — stand-up comedy. This revelation changes her life forever as she begins a journey that takes her from her comfortable life on the Upper West Side through the cafes and nightclubs of Greenwich Village as she makes her way through the city’s comedy industry on a path that could ultimately lead her to a spot on the “Tonight Show” couch. The series was created by Amy Sherman-Palladino (“Gilmore Girls”).

The casting is not very diverse.

Of Sherman-Palladino herself:

Sherman-Palladino was born in Los Angeles. Her parents are comedian Don Sherman… and dancer Maybin Hewes. Sherman was her father’s stage name. Her father, from the Bronx, was Jewish, and her mother was a Southern Baptist from Gulfport, Mississippi. She has stated that she was raised “as Jewish. Sort of.”

At one point in the show’s first season, the protagonist exposes her breasts onstage, and an indecent exposure charge ensues. It’s not only a paean to Lenny Bruce, but features Lenny Bruce as a character. The Hollywood assault against the 1950s is textbook Jewish subversion of Gentile social norms. If there’s one novel twist in this show, it’s that apparently even one’s Jewish parents are the target of rage.

Wikipedia also notes:

The second season is set to feature Midge and Susie going out on the road together with Midge playing clubs along the Borscht Belt in the Catskill Mountains.

Great.

I can’t wait.

There should be lots of diversity in that environment.

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The Journal of Contemporary Antisemitism

What would the Holocaust™ Industry be without The Journal of Contemporary Antisemitism?

The Journal of Contemporary Antisemitism, which is one of the few journals exclusively dedicated to the analysis of antisemitism, focuses on the multiple and changing manifestations of antisemitism in the contemporary world. While our interest is in the post-Holocaust era, submissions may include relevant empirical studies dealing with the 19th or early 20th century. Specifically, our focus is on 21st century forms of antisemitism, including but not limited to, antisemitism in the Islamic world, in Europe, on the left and the right of the political spectra, secular antisemitism, antisemitism in the church, and anti-Zionism.

We invite scholars from all disciplines across the social sciences and humanities to submit: 1) original research articles reporting qualitative or quantitative research; 2) literature reviews; 3) conceptual or theoretical articles; 4) commentaries; 5) book reviews.

Overseen by an international team of editors, this rigorously peer-reviewed journal aims to provide a forum in which scholars from diverse political and intellectual backgrounds can analyze, debate, and formulate effective responses to the ever-evolving and insidious threat of antisemitism.

As one would expect, there ain’t a lot of precious diversity on the editorial staff.

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Lesley Klaff (Sheffield-Hallam University, UK; University of Haifa, Israel)

DEPUTY EDITOR
Rusi Jaspal (De Montfort University, UK)

ASSOCIATE EDITORS
Daniel Allington (King’s College London, UK)
Steven Baum (Independent Scholar, US)
Eve Garrard (University of Manchester, UK)
Neil Kressel (William Paterson University, US)
David Seymour (City, University of London, UK)

BOOK REVIEW EDITOR
Matthias Jakob Becker (University of Potsdam, Germany; AJC Ramer Institute, Germany)

EDITORIAL BOARD
Edward Alexander (University of Washington, US)
Jonathan Arkush (Past President, Board of Deputies of British Jews, UK)
Danny Ben-Moshe (Deakin University, Australia)
Ben Cohen (Senior Correspondent, Algemeiner Journal, US)
Donna Robinson Divine (Smith College, US; University of Haifa, Israel; President, Association for Israel Studies)
Yoav Gelber (Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, Israel)
Alfredo Hidalgo Lavié (The National Distance Education University, Spain)
Anthony Julius (University College London, UK; Mishcon de Reya LLP, UK)
Efraim Karsh (Kings College, UK; Bar-Ilan University, Israel)
James Kirchick (Tablet Magazine Columnist, US)
Richard Landes (Bar-Ilan University, Israel)
Denis MacShane (Former MP, Labour, UK)
John Mann (MP, Labour, UK)
Fiamma Nirenstein (Interparliamentary Coalition on Combating Antisemitism, Italy)
Stephen Norwood (The University of Oklahoma, US)
Andrei Oișteanu (University of Bucharest, Romania)
Rafal Pankowski (Collegium Civitas, Poland)
David Patterson (University of Texas at Dallas, US)
Daniel Pipes (President, Middle East Forum, US)
Eunice Pollack (University of North Texas, US)
Asaf Romirowsky (Executive Director, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East; University of Haifa, Israel)
Gerald Steinberg (Bar-Ilan University, Israel)
Shmuel Trigano (University of Paris X-Nanterre, France)
Jonathan Turner (Chief Executive, UK Lawyers for Israel, UK)
Leslie Wagner (Former Chancellor, University of Derby, UK; Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Israel)

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Macron vs Salvini

“Salvini’s nationalism and Macron’s globalism are the two competing visions of Europe’s future,” writes Christopher Caldwell in The Spectator (“Macron vs Salvini: the ideological battle for Europe’s future”).

The most interesting paragraph in the piece pertains to an incipient, anti-immigration, Alt-Left materializing — something that is long overdue in Europe and mysteriously absent in the U.S.

Even the European left is showing signs of questioning its commitment to open borders. In Germany, the Marxist Sahra Wagenknecht of the Left party has started Aufstehen, a popular front meant to woo back working-class voters turned off by the globalist dogmas, including free-and-easy immigration. Denmark’s Social Democrats have rallied behind a stern plan to impose on migrants the Danish language and Danish values. Their counterparts in Sweden, who admitted a quarter of a million migrants over two years after 2015, have recanted, tightening asylum policies in the run-up to this weekend’s nationwide elections. The nationalistic and bluntly anti-immigration Sweden Democrats are set to make big gains nonetheless.

RE the Eye of Soros:

Salvini is good with language. He has managed to reframe humanitarianism as criminality. He colourfully describes the non-governmental organisations that transport migrants at sea as being bound up in the same ‘business’ as the mafiosi who guide them on land. A would-be African immigrant no longer needs to hire a boat that can get him to Europe — all he needs is a boat that can get him to the charitable rescue ship, funded by some billionaire, that you can see from the North African coast. ‘They won’t see Italy unless they see it on a postcard,’ he promises.

Salvini has relished confronting the billionaire George Soros, accusing him of using his charities ‘to fill Italy and Europe with migrants’. Attacking the Hungarian-born Soros is a rhetorical gambit that Orbán has long relished…

With respect to next spring’s elections:

Border-defending governments have come to power in Italy, Austria and the Czech Republic, and Trump’s quondam adviser Steve Bannon is now working to foster co-operation between nationalist movements, including Salvini’s, in the run-up to next May’s European elections.

Things are moving fast.

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Rabbi Brody’s Peppermint Schtick

Richard Brody

Richard Brody (the famed New Yorker movie critic whose worldview and appearance are very much that of a rabbi) is not a fan of films which feature Gentile white people. He intimates their time is done, their epoch over. It is time for all-POC casts, with Gentile whites relegated to minor roles and characters… you know, to reflect the New America.  By extension, one begins to wonder to what degree Brody’s ‘critique of culture’ reflects a deeper hatred of Gentile whiteness itself.

Previously, we saw how Brody took issue with the Unbearable Whiteness of John Krasinski’s horror film A Quiet Place (“The noise of A Quiet Place is the whitest since the release of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri…), where, in his review, if you took out the word ‘white’, his review would be all of 3 words. A representative paragraph from that review:

The one sole avowed identity of the Abbott parents is as their children’s defenders; their more obvious public identity is as a white rural family. The only other people in the film, who are more vulnerable to the marauding creatures, are white as well. In their enforced silence, these characters are a metaphorical silent—white—majority, one that doesn’t dare to speak freely for fear of being heard by the super-sensitive ears of the dark others. It’s significant that when characters—two white men—commit suicide-by-noisemaking, they do so by howling as if with rage, rather than by screeching or singing or shouting words of love to their families. (Those death bellows are the wordless equivalent of “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!”)

Now, from his review of Peppermint, the new Jennifer Garner vigilante-revenge flick, Brody expresses his displeasure that some saturation point of POC-representation hasn’t been met, thereby concluding the film is… drumroll… racist:

“Peppermint” is a racist film that reflects the current strain of anti-immigrant politics and its paranoid focus on MS-13. It features a diverse cast of actors in roles that go beyond stereotypical criminals (including Annie Ilonzeh and Eddie Shin, as F.B.I. agents, and John Ortiz and Method Man, as police officers), but its virtuous nonwhite characters are all isolated, as if diluted in number and dissolved in the institutions and manners of white Americans. In the terms of “Peppermint,” one Latinx person is a constructive exception; two are huddled, passive and dependent, in an encampment of the homeless; a group of them working together is a menace. It’s emblematic of the movie’s approach that its one exemplary mark of Latinx identity, a shop that manufactures piñatas, is a front for drug dealers.

The movie’s jaundiced depiction of multi-ethnic American society is anchored in its view of the North family as middle-class white people caught between a criminal underclass and an indifferent or contemptuous élite. This tendentious vision meshes with the film’s view of American institutions over all.

They hate you. They want you displaced and perhaps even dead.

As a matter of fact: would you just go and die already? It’d make it a lot easier for everyone involved.

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My Experiences with The Other: Berkshires Edition

I had this post semi-written up a few years ago, but never finished. A recent Counter-Currents piece on the writer’s weekend in The Berkshires prompted me to finish it (and post as a comment.) I figured I’d reproduce it here as well:

While the Berkshires have a certain SWPL heritage — and don’t get me wrong: the area is beautiful; Tanglewood & Shakespeare & Co are top-notch & wonderful — the tonier areas (e.g., Lenox, Stockbridge; Great Barrington) have been largely overrun by snotty NYC Jews who use ‘summer’ as a verb. This trend has been happening for decades. (See Saul Bellow’s “Herzog” (1964) where the main character, who lives in Chicago, summers in the Berkshires). Economically depressed towns like North Adams are, for the most part, blown out opiate wastelands ala the Rust Belt. Nationally, when people refer to “the Berkshires”, they mean (in order of importance) Lenox, Stockbridge, and Great Barrington.

A few years ago, I spent some time in this northern part of Massachusetts. After attending a Tanglewood concert, my girlfriend and I stopped at a certain Lenox inn for a late night drink. Nearby in the dining room was an older Jewish couple from Philadelphia named the Goldbergs, who despite being from Philly must have originally been from NYC, given their stereotypical accents.

Mr. Goldberg strikes up a conversation with a mixed-race gay couple next to them (a well-dressed, lispy black man and his white attorney boyfriend) on which dessert was better: the “To Die For Chocolate Cake” vs. the “Hazelnut Torte”. I consider slitting my wrists at that moment, but what I hear next leaves me gobsmacked.

As the Goldbergs were leaving the Inn, Mr. Goldberg strikes up a conversation with the owner of the Inn: “EG”, who is himself Jewish. I could only pick up parts of their conversation, but contempt for the goyim was the central point of reference for their entire conversation. At one point, EG says “80% of the visitors to Tanglewood are Jewish… and there’s a reason for that…”

I miss some of the next sentence but do catch part of a followup sentence, with EG saying: “One thing the goyim don’t understand…” I miss the rest of this sentence, but surmise he is talking about affinity for classical music. What is apparent in their mutual commiseration is the inference that goyim philistines don’t adequately appreciate classical music.

Then Mr. Goldberg responds with: “I always say… they’re savages.”

That’s the Berkshires of today.

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Judy Garland – Everybody Sing (1938)

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Randy Weaver: 2018 Interview

Fascinating interview earlier this year with Randy Weaver (of the Ruby Ridge incident). It’s not pro-shot, and it’s a shame there has been no professional interview done with Weaver. It helps to brush up on the incident ahead of time, to familiarize yourself with the names referenced.

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Would-Be-Goods – The Hanging Gardens of Reigate (1988)

I heard this wonderful song in a bookstore in Raleigh NC recently. Late ’80s, British, indie pop, with a quintessential British aesthetic… like if Ray Davies had a twin sister.

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Frank Allen: “The Other JQ: The Jazz Question”

At Counter-Currents, Frank Allen has a very good essay on “The Other JQ: The Jazz Question”.

As a big jazz fan myself (especially the harder East Coast style), I found this to be a very good orientation of the contours of jazz from a white identitarian perspective. Jazz is perhaps the one area of black culture where impressive accomplishments have genuinely been made, which explains why jazz audiences today are overwhelmingly white.

Generally speaking, in jazz we have the fusion of western technique with primal Dionysian emotion, a blending of various pre-existing genres (gospel, blues, Tin Pan Alley, etc.) With respect to Bop, which I subjectively consider the high point of jazz, the immediacy of the music pulls you in. The intragroup dynamics of skilled ensemble playing (especially in an improvisational context) reveals the level of commitment involved, the years of practice, the mastery of instrument, material, and modes.

IMO, the heights of jazz greatness come in the form of improvisation, which, eschewing staid formality (which is fine and appropriate in other musical contexts), artfully circles around a basic musical structure and/or melodic core, allowing us to witness (in real time) the spark and surprise of skillful musical imagination. This is true even when listening to jazz recordings, which usually involve some degree of improvisation.

In the field of philosophical aesthetics, there’s a whole subgenre in philosophy of music, and a good entry point (for conservatives in general) is the work of the prolific Roger Scruton. In his book The Aesthetics of Music, he examines the role of spatial metaphors in musical experience; in shorter essays such as “Why Musicians Need Philosophy” and “Music and Morality”, he delves into the underlying philosophical dimensions of music in general.  (Scruton also has a short, 7-page essay written in 1987 on “Jazz in Central Europe”, which looks at the role the Czechoslovakian jazz scene played in embodying a form of protest against the Communist regime.)

In any domain of the arts, the Greats have more than their fair share of tempestuous and narcissistic personalities. Jazz is no exception; in fact, given the prevalence of Negroes in the genre, self-destructiveness will be that much higher. Removing whatever political leanings individual black jazz musicians may have had, along with the rampant drug use throughout jazz’s history, and the overall awful personalities many of the jazz giants appear to have been, the musical legacies and realities of jazz’s evolution is something blacks can genuinely be proud of.

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Angry Asians on ‘Crazy Rich Asians’

Jiayang Fan, of the Sarah Jeong Defense Space Force, reviews Crazy Rich Asians, and of course slavishly works out the woke aspects of the film vs. its microaggressive stereotypes (“How to Watch “Crazy Rich Asians” Like an Asian-American”). With an array of wealthy, over-achieving Asian characters, the film is:

… articulating uncomfortable truths that are generally too politically incorrect to discuss in the open. At the beginning of the novel, before Rachel starts dating Nick, her friend teasingly accuses her of being a “self-loathing Asian,” since she doesn’t go out with Asian men. “The real reason you treat Asian men the way you do is because they represent the type of man your family wishes you would bring home,” the friend says. “Either that, or growing up as a racial minority in America, you feel that the ultimate act of assimilation is to marry into the dominant race. Which is why you only ever date WASPs.”

Despite her hatred for whiteness, you’ll remember, Sarah Jeong doesn’t date fellow Asians, just white guys. What is most fascinating is how Angry Asians like Jiayang Fan & Sarah Jeong work themselves into a frenzy trying to explain away their sexual fetishes as somehow the fault of The Man and his Microaggressions.

In the past week I’ve learned of an apparently long-standing ‘stereotype’ (Asian chicks wanting to date white guys), and that these very Asians deconstruct it as a visual marker for assimilation, sorta like the way the ethnic Michael marries Kay (the quintessential WASP) in The Godfather.

In her review, Fan writes this rather strange passage with TMI:

In my teens and twenties, whenever I watched the few available movies about Asian-Americans—mostly indie productions—I felt refreshed but suddenly and awkwardly exposed, as you do when, after a shower in a hotel bathroom, you catch a glimpse of your bare body in a mirror that you had forgotten was there. Watching mainstream TV and movies, I rooted for the Asian actor if there was one, but at the moment, in spite of myself, I couldn’t help feeling aspirationally white. How could I not when the characters given the most complexity, screen time, and humanity were the Caucasian leads?

Yes, it’s such a mystery, almost as if the studio systems made movies geared towards the majority population of the movie-going public: whites.

But, it’s revenge time now!

In another scene, at an unspeakably over-the-top bachelor party for Nick’s best friend, beauty queens from the Miss World competition (uniformly Caucasian, sporting bikinis and ceremonial sashes) are flown in. Their appearance is fleeting, as is that of all the white people in the movie—they are tokens in the way minorities have traditionally been in American movies.

Translation: It’s time for Whitey to get in the back of the bus. This is our Black Panther moment!

Fan quotes another Angry Asian critiquing the movie:

But some have also expressed anxiety. “Is this supposed to be our Black Panther moment for stereotype-shattering Asian-American representation in mainstream media?” a millennial from San Francisco asked on Medium.

And, par for the course, it appears Crazy Rich Asians is already experiencing the now standard Coalition infighting:

But a two-hour movie, no matter how action-packed, can’t be all things to all people, or even to all Asians. As soon as the trailer came out, some lamented the absence of South and Southeast Asians. One Twitter user noted, “All the representation talk on the red carpet, yet brown people used as servants, drivers.” Others decried the movie’s failure to depict the life of the vast majority of Singaporeans and Malays, who live workaday lives, and complained of its eagerness to caricature and exoticize Asians to entertain mainstream American audiences.

Fan’s anguish then turns to parody:

I had a concern of my own: What does it mean that “Crazy Rich Asians” must accommodate simultaneous, conflicting demands—to tell a coherent narrative, to represent Asians of all stripes, to showcase Asian culture without alienating the dominant culture, to sell something palatable to the average American—when other movies, starring white leads, are asked only to tell a single story convincingly?

Good luck with all of that!

Lastly, Fan ends her otherwise positive review on a sour note, observing that Crazy Rich Asians invokes the awful and unfounded stereotype of the Tiger Mom:

Asian-Americans, a largely made-up group that is united, more than anything else, by a historical marginalization in society, are desperate for a movie like this one to be perfect, because the opportunity to make another might not arrive for another quarter of a century. In this sense, we can’t help but become emblematic of another stereotype: the overbearing Asian parent, demanding the best of our creation, endowing it with our greatest hopes and, like any good tiger mom, our fiercest criticisms.

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