The Atlantic on Tucker Carlson

The Atlantic has a short profile of Tucker Carlson (“The Bow-Tied Bard of Populism”), written by McKay Coppins (which name is more pretentious? McKay is a man, by the way):

[T]hroughout the 2016 election cycle Carlson routinely deployed his anonymous neighbors as a device in his political punditry—pointing to them as emblems of the educated elite’s insular thinking. He scoffed at their affection for Marco Rubio in the primaries, and he ridiculed their self-righteous reactions to the Republican nominee in the general. “On my street,” he wrote in Politico Magazine, “there’s never been anyone as unpopular as Trump.”

This shtick worked brilliantly for Carlson, catapulting him from a weekend hosting gig to the coveted 9 p.m. slot in Fox’s primetime lineup. He now regularly pulls in more than 3 million viewers a night—a marked improvement on the program he replaced—and he counts the commander in chief among his loyal fans…

In an era when TV talking heads are more influential than ever, Carlson has suddenly—and rather improbably—emerged as one of the most powerful people in media. The question now is what he wants to do with that perch.

To the extent that Carlson’s on-air commentary these days is guided by any kind of animating idea, it is perhaps best summarized as a staunch aversion to whatever his right-minded neighbors believe. The country has reached a point, he tells me, where the elite consensus on any given issue should be “reflexively distrusted.”

“Look, it’s really simple,” Carlson says. “The SAT 50 years ago pulled a lot of smart people out of every little town in America and funneled them into a small number of elite institutions, where they married each other, had kids, and moved to an even smaller number of elite neighborhoods. We created the most effective meritocracy ever.”

“But the problem with the meritocracy,” he continues, is that it “leeches all the empathy out of your society … The second you think that all your good fortune is a product of your virtue, you become highly judgmental, lacking empathy, totally without self-awareness, arrogant, stupid—I mean all the stuff that our ruling class is.”

Carlson’s own political evolution, which many Alt-Righters can probably identify with, is briefly discussed:

What’s more, Carlson’s politics have undergone more than one evolution over the course of his career in television. When he started out in the early 2000s on CNN’s Crossfire, he generally played the part of a mainline partisan—a champion of the Iraq War (he soured on the endeavor after a year), and an ardent Bush defender (he soured on the president after a term). After leaving CNN in 2005 he landed at MSNBC, where he morphed into a libertarian. And when his show there was cancelled less than three years later, he ended up at Fox News, serving as a utility pundit and eventually emerging as a mischief-making advocate for Trump-style nationalism.

A cynical soul might detect careerism in that trajectory. Carlson, for his part, readily admits that his worldview has transformed over the years. These days, he tells me, “I’m not much of an economic conservative, and I’m not conservative at all on foreign policy.” Nevertheless, he insists the evolution has been organic. “If your politics don’t change when circumstances do, you’re an idiot, you’re a reactionary.”

McKay’s fangs come out when describing Tucker’s strongest suit during TV interviews with SJWs:

Carlson’s true talent is not for political philosophizing, it’s for televised partisan combat. His go-to weapons—the smirky sarcasm, the barbed comebacks, the vicious politeness—seem uniquely designed to drive his sparring partners nuts, frequently making for terrific television. Indeed, if cable news is ultimately theater, Carlson’s nightly performance is at once provocative, maddening, cringe-inducing, and compulsively watchable. Already, in its few short months in primetime, Tucker Carlson Tonight has created more viral moments than it had any right to do.

Here’s a fun 2016 interview Gavin McInnes had with Tucker Carlson, where they delve a little bit into Tucker’s background, etc.

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Richard Spencer Booted Out Of CPAC

The courageous cucks who run CPAC have booted Richard Spencer (“I’m very tolerant… lactose tolerant!”) from the conference. What virtue-signaling! From HuffPo:

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. ― White nationalist leader Richard Spencer was kicked out of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday.

A spokesman for CPAC said that the unabashedly racist “alt-right” leader was removed because organizers viewed him as “repugnant,” according to NBC News.

Security personnel approached Spencer after he spoke to reporters for approximately an hour in the halls of the National Gaylord Resort, the site of this year’s gathering of conservative activists and elected officials.

Officials asked for his credentials and then escorted him outside the building…

Even more cuck-tastic was Dan Schneider’s lame speech:

Shortly before Spencer was escorted away, the American Conservative Union’s Dan Schneider denounced him and members of his movement. In a speech titled “The Alt Right Ain’t Right At All,” Schneider said Spencer and his colleagues were part of a “sinister organization” that is trying to “worm its way” into the conservative movement.

“They are racists. They are sexists. They hate the Constitution. They hate everything we believe in. They are not an extension of conservatism,” Schneider said.

Schneider then made a puzzling argument: The alt-right and its band of Nazi sympathizers were actually a product of the left.

“They are nothing but garden variety left-wing fascists,” he said.

Spencer was later dismissive of such criticism, calling Schneider’s speech “pathetic” and claiming that his movement was more popular among conservatives than CPAC organizers were willing to admit.

“Tons of people here, in terms of young people, love the alt-right,” Spencer said. “They know who I am. They love my stuff. We’re reaching them no matter what CPAC leadership wants to do.”

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Dalai Lama Says There Are “Too Many Refugees in Europe”

From The Independent:

The Dalai Lama, widely known for his compassionate views, has said that “too many” refugees are seeking asylum in Europe, according to German news.

Speaking to reporters in the de facto capital of Tibet’s exiled government, he said: “Europe, for example Germany, cannot become an Arab country,” in an interview with German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “Germany is Germany. There are so many that in practice it becomes difficult.”

It was an unexpected extension of sympathy for a sentiment that has found fertile ground among nationalist groups.

The Dalai Lama is an Alt-Righter. Who knew!

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Trevor Phillips is Racist!

Trevor Phillips is a racist! Who knew!

A few weeks ago, I observed that Barack Obama’s iconic status as the first African-American U.S. President should not obscure his mixed political record.

For that, I was accused by one Radio 4 commentator of peddling a ‘racist narrative’.

As a black man and former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, you might think I would be surprised to face a charge of racism — but I was not.

For at a time when this country is crying out for frank discussion on issues such as race and sexuality, debate is being closed down because those who find offence in every-thing cry ‘racist’ or ‘sexist’.

The result — as I argue tonight in a TV programme — is that our political and cultural elite seem unable to speak plainly about things that concern many citizens.

As I’ve noted previously, “Things We Won’t Say About Race That Are True” (2015), the hour-long documentary that Phillips hosted can be viewed in full on YouTube.

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JYT: 2/23/17

From today’s NYT:

The first paragraph of the story about the play reads:

Steven Levenson’s passionate and provoking “If I Forget” is a family play, a political play and a kitchen-sink play. That kitchen definitely isn’t kosher, even though the family that gathers around it — the three adult children of an ailing father, Lou Fischer — are outspoken Jewish-Americans. Irritable and animated, the Fischers come vibrantly alive in this young playwright’s funny, bruising, searching voice.

Jews as ‘outspoken, irritable and animated’? If an Alt-Right person made the same (correct) ethnic characteristic observation, they’d be labeled an ‘anti-Semite’.

The Times reporter makes the obligatory ‘It’s 1933 again’ aside (“The current renewal of anti-Semitic rhetoric and the threats to Jewish spaces have only made the play’s quandaries ring louder.”)

Of the fictional Jewish family depicted in the play:

The Fischers are a mostly secular clan, and Mr. Levenson doesn’t deck them with Jewish markers — there are no skullcaps and no bagels, no briskets and no bris. These characters don’t kvetch or kvell, at least not in those terms.

The younger daughter, Sharon (Maria Dizzia), a teacher, used to take Lou to temple, but her observance has dwindled since she discovered her boyfriend and the cantor entangled on her new duvet. Her great regret: “Now I have to get it dry-cleaned,” she tells her brother, Michael (Jeremy Shamos). The older daughter, Holly (Kate Walsh of “Private Practice”), a homemaker and design hobbyist, goes to services only on High Holy Days. Michael, a professor of Jewish studies, doesn’t go at all.

If Michael is the least religious character, he is also the one most consumed by questions of Jewish identity. He has just finished writing an incendiary book arguing that the persistence of the Holocaust in the minds of American Jews has hollowed out Jewish life.

Michael, who hurls his words like so many Molotov cocktails, insists that the Holocaust has made contemporary Judaism “a religion and a culture of, frankly, death and death worship,” and recommends forgetting it. (This point and others owe a debt to Norman G. Finkelstein’s 2000 book, “The Holocaust Industry.”)

These claims don’t sit well with Lou, a World War II veteran who helped liberate Dachau. In a late-night conversation with Michael, he describes, simply and feelingly, what he saw there and why he can’t and won’t forget. “For you, history is an abstraction,” he says. “But for us, the ones who survived this century, this long, long century, there are no abstractions anymore.”

This speech, poignantly delivered by Mr. Bryggman, elicited spontaneous applause.

I’ll bet it did.

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Sweden: Professor Smokes Weed

A Swedish professor breaks a taboo:

Criminology Professor Leif GW Persson appeared on a Swedish television programme and backed up claims by under-investigation police officer Peter Springare that migrants are vastly overrepresented in criminal cases.

Professor Persson appeared alongside the policeman on an episode of “Weekly Crime” for the Swedish broadcaster SVT and they discussed the recent comments made by U.S. President Donald Trump about the high rate of crime among migrants in Sweden. Persson totally agreed with Springare who was recently slammed for expressing the fact that most of the criminal suspects he sees in his work are from other countries.

“There is a strong prevalence of criminal immigrants. It is so obvious when it comes to crimes of this nature. Very serious violent crimes,” Springare said. Persson agreed with him saying, “Yes, I have made the same observation,” and adding “anyone with eyes to see can know who is doing these kinds of actions.”

“Over-representation is a fact,” Persson said and noted how many of the migrant criminals come from countries like Iraq, Somalia, and Afghanistan, while a decade ago they were from Turkey and the Balkans.

Both Persson and Springare pointed out the fact that talking about migrant crime in Sweden was a huge taboo, something host Camilla Kvartoft didn’t agree with. “It is a taboo. And it is noticeable now. This has been such an incredible spread widely. And I look at the letters and emails I get that a very large number of police who are involved in serious crimes verifies this data,” Springare said.

Persson noted that people were “reluctant” to report migrant crime saying, “The tendency to talk about it decreases the higher up in the police rank you are. But this is no secret. This is a problem you can happily avoid talking about. But times change.”

What was this professor smoking?

Meanwhile, further proof of Trump’s buffoonery comes via two Swedish Democrats (Sweden’s nationalist party). The WSJ op-ed “Trump Is Right: Sweden’s Embrace of Refugees Isn’t Working” is behind a paywall, but here is a Fox News summary:

Two leading Swedish politicians have a message for President Trump’s critics: He’s right.

Per Jimmie Akesson and Mattias Karlsson, both leaders of the Sweden Democrats, penned a Wall Street Journal op-ed on Wednesday supporting Trump’s characterization of a Muslim immigrant-led crime crisis in Sweden.

“Mr. Trump did not exaggerate Sweden’s current problems,” Akesson and Karlsson wrote. “If anything, he understated them.”

Trump was ridiculed by many after he gave a speech Saturday citing Sweden among a list of European countries affected by the scourge of Islamic terror. Referring to the massive number of Middle Eastern refugees that have poured into the country, Trump said Sweden was “having problems like they never thought possible.” Some Swedish politicians openly derided Trump’s portrayal of the country – but riots in a heavily immigrant suburb of Stockholm on Monday evening put an end to most of the mockery.

“Riots and social unrest have become a part of everyday life,” Akesson and Karlsson wrote. “Police officers, firefighters and ambulance personnel are regularly attacked. Serious riots in 2013, involving many suburbs with large immigrant populations, lasted for almost a week. Gang violence is booming. Despite very strict firearms laws, gun violence is five times as common in Sweden, in total, as in the capital cities of our three Nordic neighbors combined.”

They added: “Anti-Semitism has risen. Jews in Malmo are threatened, harassed and assaulted in the streets. Many have left the city, becoming internal refugees in their country of birth.”

The Sweden Democrats duo ended the op-ed with a warning for the United States.

“For the sake of the American people,” Akesson and Karlsson wrote, “with whom we share so many strong historical and cultural ties, we can only hope that the leaders in Washington won’t make the same mistakes that our socialist and liberal politicians did.”

Did I mention that Trump is a buffoon?

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Fallon Not #Resisting = Vichy France

It’s a busy day of cultural activism at the NYT. Today, we have “Colbert Rides a Trump Wave, While Fallon Treads Water”, which wags a virtue-signaling finger at Jimmy.

IOW, when Colbert’s ratings were in the toilet, and Fallon’s were sky high, there was silence about this at the NYT. Now that Colbert has received a bump in ratings, it’s time to both celebrate it, promote it, and draw a ‘lesson’ from it.

After Donald J. Trump riffed and ranted his way through a jaw-dropping news conference on Feb. 16, Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon both got out their knives.

The difference: Mr. Colbert brought a carving knife, and Mr. Fallon brought a butter knife.

That’s the start.

When Mr. Colbert moved to CBS from Comedy Central a year and a half ago, he was the one struggling to adjust. How could he transition from the scathing political comedy of “The Colbert Report” to broadcast TV, where Mr. Fallon had shown, like Jay Leno before him, that audiences just want to escape after a long day?

Mr. Trump has upended that dynamic the way he has so many others. Since his inauguration, there’s no escape. And there’s surprisingly little ratings evidence that people are looking for one. “Late Show” has begun beating “Tonight” in overall viewers. And it’s Mr. Fallon who’s navigating a suddenly foreign environment.

I now find Colbert unwatchable. The political histrionics are just too much. But the NYT writer makes the subjective assertion that Colbert is actually ‘moderate’ relative to other, more foaming-at-the-mouth ‘comics’:

Mr. Colbert is not, right now, the fiercest of the late-night anti-Trumpists (that’s Samantha Bee), the most depthful (John Oliver) or the most potent (Seth Meyers, whose “A Closer Look” segments are killing). But he has a bigger stage, and he seems to have figured out how to be authentic within that space.

More on Jimmy Fallon’s moral failings:

[Fallon’s] bits have been typical Fallon — goofy, light, full of pop culture references. But right now, they feel the opposite of huge.

Mr. Fallon has seemed to be behind the cultural moment at least since September, when he invited Mr. Trump onto his show to fluff his combover. To Mr. Fallon’s critics, it was “normalizing,” which has become a buzzword for any insufficiently zealous response to Mr. Trump’s presidency.

It’s a pretty accurate word for Mr. Fallon’s approach, though. That’s not to say he has any deliberate plan to soften Mr. Trump’s image…

Rather, the whole spirit of Mr. Fallon’s comedy is that of someone who badly wants things to just be normal again. Guys! Can we all cool off and laugh about the president’s goofy hair? Can’t we just take an hour and chill?…

And isn’t that really the problem? Fallon is just so…. white and WASPy, like a Haven Monahan type of fratboy.

But things aren’t normal. Not even Mr. Trump’s fans — who voted for him to deliver a shock to the system — see it that way. Mr. Trump made his campaign angry, cultural and personal. As president, he has continued to goad his followers into a war of all against all with internal enemies: refugees, the media, any Americans deemed less “real.”…

Mr. Fallon is a talented entertainer and a likable, inclusive party host. But his “Tonight” lives in an American neutral zone that is disintegrating like a desert cliff beneath Wile E. Coyote’s feet.

Got that, Jimmy? There’s a glimmer of hope you, but you’d better get into full #Resist mode or you’ll sink into ‘irrelevancy’!

Very recently, Mr. Fallon’s political material has gotten a bit feistier. After Mr. Trump visited the National Museum of African American History and Culture on Tuesday, he joked, “Things got awkward at each exhibit when Trump would turn to Ben Carson and say, ‘Friend of yours?’”

But most of “Tonight” is still a retreat from the all-Trump mediasphere. That’s Mr. Fallon being Mr. Fallon, doing the same energetic, upbeat show he’s good at doing. Only now it feels like a plaintive holdover from a distant, more innocent time — like 2015.

The NYT jihad against Trump marches onward.

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Weisberg: “Trump is Deaf to the Echoes of History”

If you want to understand how and why most Jews, using their hugely disproportionate cultural influence, oppose immigration restriction, this piece in Slate by Jacob Weisberg (chairman and editor-in-chief of Slate) is representative (“Trump Is Deaf to the Echoes of History”):

Going through my mother’s papers after she died last year, I found a folder marked “1940 immigration—Jewish relatives.” The pleading letters and desperate cables it contained told a story I knew only in broad outline, about how my grandparents helped a family of distant relations escape the Nazis at the last possible moment.

After Kristallnacht in 1938, those relatives—Sol and Fruma Teitelmann, and their two young daughters Hanna and Mali—were desperate to “leave Germany in any way possible as quickly as possible,” as they wrote to my grandparents. As Lithuanian nationals stranded in Frankfurt, their only hope was to obtain one of the limited number of U.S. immigrant visas. My grandfather, Mortimer Porges, wrote a stack of letters to anyone he thought might be able to help: congressional aides, the State Department, and the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. He filled out forms and affidavits promising to provide for the Teitelmanns in Chicago…

Der Trumpenfuhrer

Those letters were the first thing I thought of Friday, when President Trump issued his executive order banning refugees from seven Middle Eastern countries for 120 days, and visitors of all kinds from those countries for 90 days. Here again was the heartlessness and bureaucratic caprice that doomed so many European Jews…

For American Jews, the scenes of refugees detained in transit hold a particular resonance. We know that most of us exist today only because our ancestors, like the Teitelmanns, finagled their way into a country where they weren’t entirely welcome. That experience explains why several Syrian refugees trying to clear immigration before the deadline were being met by groups from synagogues that were sponsoring their resettlement. Jews witnessing the exodus from Aleppo or ISIS’s atrocities against the Yazidis can’t but see ourselves in parallel….

Bottom Line: Any attempt to place restrictions on immigration into the United States is Hitlerian.

The size and scope of Jewish influence on this topic is briefly touched upon by Weisberg’s Silicon Valley references:

And so it is a Jewish-flavored reaction that may finally break down the wall of silence and fear around Trump’s vicious policies. “My great grandparents came from Germany, Austria and Poland,” Mark Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook wall on Friday night. “Priscilla’s parents were refugees from China and Vietnam. The United States is a nation of immigrants, and we should be proud of that. … We should also keep our doors open to refugees and those who need help.” On Saturday, Sergey Brin, the Google co-founder who comes from a family of Soviet refuseniks, was photographed at a protest at San Francisco International Airport, one of many that occurred spontaneously across the country.

To learn more about the significant role Jewish interest groups played in getting the 1965 Immigration Act passed, read the works of Kevin MacDonald on the subject.

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NYT: More on Publius/Anton

Each day brings a new NYT discovery of this strange ‘Alt Right’ phenomenon happening. Today, we have “‘Charge the Cockpit or You Die’: Behind an Incendiary Case for Trump” by Jennifer Schuessler, where she delves a bit into the formerly-mysteriously, now-unveiled Publius Decius Mus (aka Mike Anton):

Decius’ apocalyptic vision — “Charge the cockpit or you die” — stirred intense rebuttals from the overwhelmingly anti-Trump conservative intellectual establishment. Then The Weekly Standard revealed that Decius was Michael Anton, a senior staff member at the National Security Council, and a news media stampede was on.

The Intercept called his writings the “intellectual source code of Trumpism.” Salon put him alongside Stephen K. Bannon and Stephen Miller in the administration’s “white nationalist ‘genius bar,’” while the conservative writer (and staunch Never-Trumper) William Kristol, writing on Twitter, compared him to the Nazi theorist Carl Schmitt.

It certainly added up to a publicity coup for a small West Coast institute known for summer seminars at which young conservatives immerse themselves in the Federalist Papers and other classics of American political thought. Suddenly, The Claremont Review, an erudite journal with a mere 13,000 subscribers, was being hailed as the bible of highbrow Trumpism — “crucially important,” as the journalist Damon Linker wrote, “for anyone seeking to understand the evolution of the Republican and conservative movement.”

Not that the journal is pro-Trump, mind you. Charles R. Kesler, the editor, said that he had sought out “robust debate,” publishing some Never-Trumpers alongside pro-Trumpers and those who call themselves “anti-anti-Trump.”

The institute’s president, Michael Pack, also noted that Claremont’s affiliates — who include the former Bush administration lawyer John Yoo (a strong Trump critic) and Senator Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas (“one of Trumpism’s leading voices,” as a headline in The Washington Post recently put it) — were of many minds about the new president.

“The Claremont Institute stands for deep, serious thinking about American founding principles,” Mr. Pack said. “We are not simply in the partisan fight.”

But some Claremont-watchers take a darker view, saying the institute’s intellectual principles have been, to continue the aviation metaphor, left on the runway.”…

Always the ‘darker view’ with these people.

The piece briefly explores Anton’s indebtedness to political philosopher (and proud Jew) Leo Strauss:

Strauss’s intensely close readings of Plato, Maimonides and Machiavelli can seem remote from contemporary politics. But during the Bush administration, much ink was spilled over the subterranean influence of Straussians like Mr. Kristol, who championed the war in Iraq. And now some see the Claremont crowd’s rising profile as revenge of the so-called West Coast Straussians, as acolytes of Harry V. Jaffa — the Claremont McKenna professor and Claremont Institute patriarch who died in 2015 — are known.

The Straussian lineages, and their fierce schisms, are notoriously complex. But Mr. Kesler, who studied under the Straussian Harvey C. Mansfield at Harvard but came to Claremont in 1983, gamely summed up the West Coast view as hinging on a more optimistic take on America.

“The East Coast view was that America was a Lockean nation, purely modern, based on radically individual and almost selfish rights: your life, your liberty, your property,” he said.

But Mr. Jaffa, a deep student of Abraham Lincoln, “thought that America was a heroic country,” Mr. Kesler continued. “Not always, maybe only when it had to be. But it could be.”

The tension between Athens (reason) and Jerusalem (faith) was one of Strauss’s great themes.

As far as the ‘anti-Semitism’ canard, in a recent interview at the new American Greatness site, Anton elaborates:

Q: HuffPo and The Intercept basically say you’re an anti-semite, or something close to it. What do you say to that?

It’s completely outrageous but sadly typical of the slander culture perfected by the modern Left. They can’t debate ideas anymore and don’t even want to try. They just look for any way to connect their enemies—that’s what I am to them, an enemy—to some scurrilous person or outlook. Once that taint is on you, they then work to make it impossible to scrub out.

What’s especially risible about this is that I’m a Straussian. It’s metaphysically impossible to be an anti-Semitic Straussian. My great teacher, Harry Jaffa—a man I revere more than any other I’ve ever known—was Jewish. I will go to my grave with my two greatest intellectual influences, the two people who more than any others formed my mind, being Jewish. Anti-semite? Give me a break.

But that’s the modern Left for you. They will turn that around and say, “Oh that’s just the old ‘some of my best friends are Jewish’ line.” Which in my case, happens to be true. The point is, nothing you can say is considered a valid defense. Once they have the chance to smear you, they will do it and continue the smear because it serves their interests. The human damage that they cause, the destruction of reputations—they don’t care about that. Actually, they do care, but they see it as a positive. Enemies are to be destroyed by any means necessary.

Of the larger ‘white nationalism’ question, Publius notes that he is not, in fact, anything close to a Richard Spencer-style white identiarian:

Q: What about the broad charge of “white nationalism”?

Just another lie/smear. Though I cop to “nationalism,” but I do wonder what is the difference between nationalism and patriotism? I am open to being educated on that point if someone wants to make a case why “nationalism” is so awful but “patriotism” is OK. If I am a nationalist, I am an American nationalist. I am also an American patriot and I don’t see the difference.

As for the “white” part, where do people get that? It’s just a convenient way to destroy and smear and not have to deal with the argument.

Actually, one of my great hopes for a Trump Administration and Trump economic policy is that he will build class solidarity among the working classes of all races. I think that would be good for the country and put salutary pressure on the political system. That sounds sort of Marxist of me, but I can live with that.

I know there are people who call themselves “white nationalists” but they strike me as a fringe. I don’t think “white nationalism” per se is actually possible or viable. The root of “nationalism” is “nation.” A race is not a nation. Nations come together and cohere in various ways. There is the French nation, the Chinese nation, the Navajo nation and so on. Nationalism exists on that basis, of “peoplehood” for lack of a better term. This goes back to the ancient distinction between friend and enemy, citizen and foreigner. This is the way humanity organizes itself and always has. Individual nations do not exist by nature but the impulse to form nations is natural. There will always be nations, but it has never been done on a racial basis—that is, by trying to unite an entire race into one nation—and I don’t think ever could be.

In any event, American nationalism is transracial because the American people are multiracial.

The ‘Alt Right’ is a Big Tent. There are differences of opinion between its members, sometimes profound differences of opinion. However, these differences are relatively small compared to their collective distance from Conservatism, Inc.

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RIP: Seijun Suzuki

They’re dropping like flies. In just the last few days, we’ve lost jazz guitar legend Larry Coryell, mathematician/economist Kenneth Arrow (whose “Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem” addresses issues of collective decision-making), and now the iconoclastic, Japansese film director Seijun Suzuki has died at the age of 93.

An inspiration to the likes of Quentin Tarantino, Baz Luhrmann and Jim Jarmusch, Suzuki is best known for Tokyo Drifter (1966) and Branded to Kill (1967), two of the strangest yet most wonderful, postmodernist, yakuza films you’ll ever see. From The Guardian:

Born in 1923, Suzuki served in Japan’s meteorological corps in the second world war, and then in 1948 joined the Shochiku studio as an assistant director. Despite spending his time there as “a melancholy drunk”, as he described it, he was hired by the newly reopened Nikkatsu in 1954, again as an assistant director. Two years later he graduated to the director’s chair with Victory Is Mine, a pop-song movie credited under his given name, Seitaro Suzuki.

For the next decade Suzuki was assigned to a string of B-movies and programme fillers, largely genre material which he sought to enliven through elaborate design (supplied by regular collaborator Takeo Kimura) and surreal, colourful imagery. However, his instincts did not prove popular at the cost-conscious Nikkatsu, and Suzuki was continually ordered to tone things down. Tokyo Drifter, released in 1966, combined pop art visuals with a dreamy, off-kilter study of a yakuza hitman. Branded to Kill, a year later, was another yakuza story, this time rendered in beautiful black and white.

However, Branded to Kill proved the last straw for Nikkatsu, and Suzuki was fired in 1968. He launched an action for unfair dismissal and won a settlement, but was effectively blacklisted for a decade. “They said my film was incomprehensible,” Suzuki told the Guardian in 2006. It didn’t matter whether I thought it was a good film. I couldn’t disagree. I just had to take it. And once Nikkatsu sacked me, none of the other film companies would hire me.”

The circumstances surrounding Suzuki’s sacking from Nikkatsu (and effective black-balling from the Japanese studio system) are legendary.

What remains, however, is Suzuki’s bold and daring directorial flourish on especially Tokyo Drifter (1966), where bright, pop-art aesthetics, minimalism and symbolism, and near-comical choreography leave a most vivid and surreal impression, as well as conveying the fanatical obsession with all-things-American-and-British that the Post-War Japanese youth embraced.

For Japan after WWII, it went from Instant Karma to Instant Anomie, at pedal-to-the-metal speed.

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