Agony and ecstasy—12 months of turmoil, disaster, death, rescue, victory, and celebration
When tripping over yourself to be on the right side of history, the trouble you will run into is that you don’t know the rules. This is because the rules keep changing.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, darling of the left (until February) didn’t know the rules. He supposed if he dressed like a Bombay bridegroom to visit India they would love him. They hated him. In India and in Canada. Now one can imagine being hated for wearing Armani suits and looking like a flaming colonialist. Turns out he would have been better off. Who knew? As Jesus said: “We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn” (Matthew 11:17).
Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues, knew the rules at one time, but the rules ran ahead of her. Her stage play, once an annual religious rite on college campuses, was canceled this year at our local Temple University. Though she had shoehorned every age, race, and sexual orientation she could think of into her diatribe cum theater, it wasn’t enough to save her in the end, because she didn’t have “intersectionality.” Temple hath said she was “heterocentric and cisgender.” And surely, Temple (as Antony said of Brutus) is an honorable institution.
Rats experience rodent distress when placed in ‘approach-avoidance’ situations. Men are not rats, but they are at least rats.
Milo Yiannopoulos is an interesting case. Though he’s flamboyantly gay, with a British accent, to boot, two points in his favor, he dislikes Islam. Worse than that, he doesn’t believe in climate change. He has to go too. Bye-bye U.C.-Berkeley.
PewDiePie is a 29-year-old Swedish YouTube comic with over 15 million Twitter followers. Last year he made a joke the rule-makers didn’t like—those guys who sit in a control room somewhere and change them every five minutes. Channeling Paula Deen and other fallen rule-transgressors, he apologized: “I’ve made some jokes that people don’t like. And you know what? If people don’t like my jokes, I fully respect that. I fully understand that. I acknowledge that I took things too far, and that’s something I definitely will keep in mind moving forward, but the reaction and the outrage has been nothing but insanity” (“My Response” video, February 2017).
It was a nimble blend of grovel and defiance, and it should have worked. But he’s probably toxic now. Too bad for PewDiePie, he didn’t know the rules.
James Damore, 28, soft-spoken and well-mannered, nerdy and apolitical engineer at Google, was fired last year after sending upper management solicited feedback following a company diversity training seminar. He thought they were having a conversation. “Conversation” is a leftist word; it’s what they always say they want. The company fired him over the phone, saying, “James, you’ve been terminated for perpetuating gender stereotypes.” In a 1970s college psych class they told us experimental rats experience rodent distress when placed in “approach-avoidance” situations where they are administered electronic shocks after taking the bait. Men are not rats, but they are at least rats. Men need to know the rules.
Cruella (to her employee): “Do you like spots, Fredric?” Fredric: “I don’t believe so, Madame. I thought we liked stripes this year.” Cruella: “What kind of sycophant are you?” Fredric: “What kind of sycophant would you like me to be?” (101 Dalmatians, 1996).
At the height of Germany’s economic hyperinflation in the 1920s, the mark-dollar exchange rate was falling so fast that restaurant waiters had to stand on tables and announce new menu prices. Cultural hyperinflation in 21st-century America needs the same hour-by-hour monitoring if you want to ensure you’re as PC this afternoon as you were when you woke up this morning.
I picture a boat on turbulent waters listing to port, and everyone aboard running in panic as one man to starboard. Then she lists to starboard, and a hundred pairs of feet scurry in unison to port. It’s all about staying in the inner ring. Wish we could anticipate where to run next.
God has two rules: “And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he commanded us” (1 John 3:23).
And those rules never change.