»  Taki's Magazine

August 25th, 2011

  Advice to a Lady from an Admirer

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Ah, reality! That mysterious, untouchable world of mass and energy, of gravity and fire, of genes and synapses. It lurks out of sight there beyond our reach, knowable to us only by the occasional fragments of it that impinge on our senses, and that are then, after much error-introducing data compression and many wasting detours around feedback loops of hope, fear, desire, and hate, presented at last to our higher faculties.

She's a bitch, Miss Reality. She has things she wants to tell you, but many of them are things you'd rather not know; so while she natters on about solitude and pain, failure and humiliation, biology and physics, old age and death, you turn away from her, bury one ear in the bed and pull the quilt up over the other one, and feign sleep. You almost make it, too: then, just as you find you can mentally reduce her damn repetitive drone to mere noise, the words having no signification — suddenly, just then, she whacks you backside the head with a loaded pool cue!

But enough with personification. Let's talk about a real woman: Laura Ingraham. Not just a woman, either, but a lady. I speak from knowledge here, from a personal encounter a couple of years ago. The details don't matter and aren't interesting, but I came away from that encounter deeply, honestly impressed, thinking: "What a classy lady!"

So you can log me as strongly pro-Ingraham. Oh, we've had our trifling differences, but trifling is how they seem when you've had one indisputable, memorable evidence of a person's real, high quality. I don't just like Laura Ingraham: I admire her.

Laura Ingraham is, however, a middle-class white American raised in the last quarter of the 20th century. She is also a law-school graduate, and so was immersed for four years in the perfumed warm soak-bath of Political Correctness that is the modern American law school. She seems to have survived the experience better than most, but given that current U.S. jurisprudence is wellnigh all oughts and no ises, her sense of reality — as much of it as she'd been able to hold on to through a standard high-school and college experience — is bound to have suffered some permanent impairment.

This showed up back in June when Ms. Ingraham was guest-hosting The O'Reilly Factor — of which show, with all its silliness, shallowness, and self-congratulating pomposity, I am a long-time addict.

Black "flash mobs" were just starting to make the headlines, and they got a mention on the show. As I reported to TakiMag at the time:

I just watched a segment of the O'Reilly show titled "Violent Teen Mobs Causing Chaos Across Country." In the entire 6m15s segment neither Laura Ingraham nor either of her two guests used any of the terms "black," "African American," or "colored."

Worth noting, I thought, and still think, as fair comment on current taboos. Other people thought so, too: I saw three or four mentions in dissident-conservative blogs.

Those sentiments must have been represented in the show's mailbag. On August 16 flash mobs came up again on the Factor, and again Laura Ingraham was guest hosting. On this occasion, in what looked to me — though I'm only guessing — like a very reluctant concession to the mailbag, our hostess allowed, as briefly as she could have done without slipping the whole sentence in between two passes of the TV camera's raster scan, that the flash mobs are regrettably but un-ignorably lacking in diversity:

In many instances these mostly young people happen to be African American, they're running into stores, …

(At 5m 02s here.)

They happen to be! In many instances!

I have this mental image of a centurion in one of the border forts by the frozen Rhine on that terrible last day of the year a.d. 406, dictating to a scribe the message to be pony-expressed back to the Emperor in Rome: "There are thousands of them, tens of thousands … with siege engines and carts full of weapons … swarming across the river … In many instances they happen to be barbarians, in multis casibus forte barbari sunt …  (My Latin's not very good; but then, neither was the centurion's. At this point in imperial decline, when, Gibbon tells us, the youth of Italy "trembled at the sound of the trumpet," the centurion was probably an illegal-immigrant mercenary.)

They just happen to be African American! In many instances! In other instances — of which we unfortunately have no footage — they happened to be Cambodian American! In future instances we shall be reporting to you, very probably they will happen to be Icelandic American! It's all just a random roll of the ethnic dice, you see? There is no significance whatsoever! If there were, and I noticed it, I would be a racist! Then I'd have to kill myself! And Hitler would have been right! And the Earth would crash into the Sun! Bringing on the Heat Death of the Universe!

Liking and admiring Laura Ingraham as I do, I'll admit I feel a teeny bit of guilt at mocking her race panic. It's normal for someone of her age and background. Most of my younger colleagues are the same. My own notion that race is just a mildly interesting and occasionally important feature of the human condition, is so far behind us now I might as well be walking around in breeches and hose. Race is plutonium, to be handled — if it really must be handled — from behind twelve-inch-thick lead shielding.

The lady is in any case a TV and Radio presenter — a pleasant and rewarding career, but one whose working territory is heavily seeded with race-sensitivity landmines. Step on one of those suckers and, as the Chinese say, suan wanle! — you can reckon you're finished. Anyone in the business can tell you about the many instances of careers that happened to be ended by an infelicitous vocabulary choice: David Lenihan, Tom Burlington, E.D. Hill, Kelly Tilghman, and others. (For a comprehensive list not restricted to media casualties, see Chapter Three of Jared Taylor's densely informative new book White Identity, from whence I extracted those names.)

When reporting on anything even remotely race-connected, these presenters are in white-knuckle mode. Hence the frozen look on Laura's face as she squeezed out between clenched teeth the dread words: "These mostly young people happen to be African American."

The lady has guts, though. Perhaps — I'm guessing again — perhaps feeling that she'd played a couple of frames without getting a single ball into a pocket, two days later she took on Congressman Charlie Rangel.

The background here was that Republican Congressman Allen West, who is black, had accused the Democratic Party of running a "21st-century plantation" in which the black vote is taken for granted. Rangel was called in to defend the Congressional black leadership.

Laura must have settled on this as a prime opportunity to demonstrate once and for all that race has no significance whatsoever for her, and that she could be just as forceful and combative with a black guest as with a white one. Unfortunately she had forgotten a key rule for coping with neurosis, which applies equally well when, as in this case, one is sharing in a collective mass neurosis:

Key Rule for Coping with Neurosis:  A strenuous self-conscious effort to show the world that you do not suffer from a certain neurosis will always end by making it clearer than ever that you do.

She over-compensated badly, not letting Rangel get a word in edgewise, butting in with a new question before he could get to the main verb in the first sentence of his answer to the previous one.

Now Charlie Rangel is a crook, a liar, and a race-guilt hustler. (In one of his lowest moments, also I think on The O'Reilly Factor, back in the 2008 election season, he told the nation that anyone who favored tax reductions is a racist.) For the first time I can recall, though, I felt sorry for the guy. And coming from the class act that I know her to be, Laura's performance was a disgraceful lapse. She even pulled the feminist card at one point, pretending to take offense at Rangel's calling her "a pretty girl" — as if any woman ever minded that, from any man!

In all sincerity, wishing nothing but well to a fine American lady, I offer Laura Ingraham the following advice: Stay well clear of race topics. Some people can do them without major embarrassment, but you are not one of those people. Gnothi seauton, Ma'am.