Tuesday, September 03, 2013
PAULA DEAN AND THE N WORD
I have often thought about the networks we establish and our ability to criticize them. Grocery networks are basically good, and food distribution in this country is remarkably thorough and well-maintained. Our news networks are less thorough and well-maintained. While there is an FDA for bad food, and which can recall food, the fourth estate largely goes unpunished. That NBC was able to elide words in Zimmerman's testimony that made him come off as racist - bespeaks a befouling of the media. While there was a very lukewarm internal response, it did not appear to go far enough. Throughout the Zimmerman trial it felt as if we were having another version of the Duke lacrosse incident. Lies were told, lies multiplied in the echo chamber of the media, the truth was pushed against the bubble of lies by Fox and WSJ and two or three other surviving news outfits, and ultimately the bubble popped. If lies can be told without swift rebuke, these lies can be taken as truths. Pilate seemed to think along with the Sophists that there was no truth. Goebbels said that history is the story told by the winner. This cannot be considered a sufficient account of truth.
The answer to lies is more lies, to paraphrase Learned Hand. If everything that is said is a lie, as Nietzsche thought, then with enough lies, at least they will all be counteracted. But what happens when you have a ridiculous move from the left to destroy Paula Deen for having admitted that decades ago she had used the "n" word? Deen had used the term when describing to her husband having been caught in a bank robbery in which a black robber had put a gun to her head (Wikipedia). If the "n" word is a lie in that it reduces a person to a demographic, then what is "White Hispanic"? Wasn't the same thing done to Zimmerman? And with Paula Dean she has been reduced to a southern belle with the brains of a plantation owner. Suddenly she herself is erased, as if she had endorsed the use of the term, and as if she had said nothing else, and while omitting the context of when she had said the word. What seems to have gone on is that there is a determined push by the left to destroy any and all ideological opponents, including exponents of foodstuffs that no longer strike them as PC. "Less pork sausages, ma."
Wikipedia: "Deen has faced extensive criticism for the high amounts of fat, salt, and sugar in her recipes. She faced particularly strong objections with the release of Lunch-Box Set, a cookbook aimed at children, with Barbara Walters saying of the book, "You tell kids to have cheesecake for breakfast. You tell them to have chocolate cake and meatloaf for lunch. And french fries. Doesn't it bother you that you're adding to this?" Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain commented in 2011 that he "would think twice before telling an already obese nation that it's OK to eat food that is killing us."
On January 17, 2012, Deen announced that she had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes three years before."
I am not an aficionado of the southern accent or way of eating, and am against obesity and work hard to regulate my weight (5'10" and 163 pounds) but obesity cannot be completely expunged by fiat as the mayor of New York thinks. Or rather, it can, but I prefer that the southerners and blacks who've drifted north with bad diets would be able to speak for themselves, and in their own language, and using their own taste as guide. Even if that includes fried chicken and gumbo. That is the basis of the first amendment. I also think people should be able to eat sausages, and okra, without having to explain themselves to Barbara Walters.
The growing attempts at censorship of ways of life that seem inimical to the "enlightened" and "progressive" elements, and the rogue methods of policing other ways through boycotts and shaming strike me as likely to move us closer to tyranny. Michelle Obama and others now attempt to shame people into eating and speaking "correctly." This is part of the new universal healthcare for America.
I am willing to have a universal network of healthcare so long as a system of open criticism remains intact that can criticize it as well. This seems to be the difference between a "closed society" such as North Korea or Nazi Germany or Cuba or what have you, and the ways in which they have used medical care to orchestrate a systematic elimination of opponents (which included the use of psychiatric facilities in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe), and the more enlightened countries of Scandinavia, in which a free and even a yellow press thrive. (I am not against the yellow press such as the National Enquirer - it was they who broke the John Edwards story which contributed to the downfall of that abusive perptwerp, but I do think that lawsuits against stories that go too far should be permitted.)
A universal system of medical care that is also allied with a system that is "progressively" pushing censorship can create the conditions of tyranny. As Karl Popper writes,
"You can choose whatever name you like for the two types of government. I personally call the type of government which can be removed without violence "democracy", and the other "tyranny"."
As quoted in Freedom: A New Analysis (1954) by Maurice William Cranston, p. 112.
Is voting sufficient to remove perps? It is not clear to me if the Lutheran church is still voting properly. After the 2009 vote to ordain homosexuals, there was widespread criticism that the vote had not been properly investigated. It may well have been rigged, as there were no dimpled chads or paper for independent bodies to count. It was done electronically. Similar votes goofed up the 2000 election, and more problems remain yet to emerge from within the 2012 election (whole areas voted 100% for the Democratic contender, and new attempts to verify voter id's have been shot down by the Democratic contender's AG). When such license takes place, people emigrate, as they no longer feel safe.
I have a fear of closed systems in which one person speaks for all. I doubt figureheads. There remain many problems within the Catholic church, but one was a theological mandate that did not allow for internal controversy when Luther arose to challenge it. Even today we have reporting problems on clergy sex abuse from within the Catholic churches. An atmosphere of secrecy in which individuals cannot practice freedom of inquiry is always conducive to bad moral conditions, and is likely to create flight.
Jimmy Carter has said that Paula Deen should be forgiven, as she has apologized profusely (Wikipedia).
We cannot impose our artistic taste or our politics on others. There is art inside of North Korea, inside of the Soviet Union, and inside of the Catholic Church. Art is necessary but not sufficient. There is beauty in all kinds of food. There is beauty in ballet and in classical music. But beauty without intelligent ethical and moral criticism can be evil. Therefore, I do think that aesthetics is not sufficient to establish the goodness of one's taste. There must also be ethical and political considerations. But no one group should be able to decide what those considerations must be. We need an open society, and we need to keep these conditions as they were set forth in the first and second amendments (the second backs up the first).
It's hard to find the right balance between all these elements. But Lutheran Surrealism exists as a form for balancing families with art, religious faith with artistic work, piety with impiety, and good sense with nonsense.