Monday, November 24, 2003

Authenticity or Depravity? Murder and Mayhem As Entertainment

By Barney F. McClelland

Barney McClelland looks at rappers who get street cred by murdering women in today's Butterflies and Wheels.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Gangsta Rap – Authenticity or Depravity?

Those of us in the "flyover" region of the Midwest were treated to a spectacle yesterday that clearly illustrates how sick our "culture" (and I use this word in the broadest possible sense) has become. Dennis Greene was convicted of murdering his 28 year-old wife, Tara by a Kenton County (KY) jury. Greene was sentenced to life in prison for nearly decapitating the schoolteacher and mother of their seven-year old son, Chi'An who witnessed the murder.

This alone is heinous enough, but there seems to be no depths our criminal underclass today will not explore. After his savage crime, Greene fled to his hometown of Chicago to evade authorities. In the spirit of our narcissistic times, Greene shot a "rap video" where he boasted of "killin' da bitch" and "cut her neck with a sword". A much-edited version was released last night on the evening news. Notwithstanding Mr. Greene's nearly Shakespearean lyrics, we also were allowed to watch him smoke a joint, dance, and wave his arms in the infantile manner so germane to this particular genre of "music".

His attorneys attempted to prove he acted under extreme emotional disturbance, which would have dropped the charge to first-degree manslaughter and his sentence to 10 to 20 years. But the jury of eight women and four men didn't buy that argument. Apparently, they had trouble with the "authenticity" of Greene's "urban" experience and decided that life in prison might be in the best interest of everyone, including Greene's young son.

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this tragedy is that it should not serve as a deterrent in Mr. Greene's pursuit of a music career.

If you should think this is far-fetched, think again; the November 17th issue of Advertising Age, a trade magazine in the marketing and advertising fields, recently honored "The Ad Age Marketing 50, 2003: The Top Brand Success Stories Of The Year" where "Since 1992 the editors of Advertising Age have identified and profiled a select group of marketers whose vision, drive and innovation are major milestones of the year's brand success stories."

One of those honored was Steve Berman, senior executive - marketing and sales, Interscope, Geffen, and A&M Records. If you are not familiar with Mr. Berman, he is the man largely responsible for inflicting the model citizen known as "50 Cent" on the listening public:

"'He had done so much to heat up the streets,' says Mr. Berman, one of the architects of 50 Cent's ascent. 'He was well on his way.'

[Berman] says the meteoric rise of 50 Cent began with authenticity. 50 Cent has it: rap sheet, former second-generation drug dealer and multiple gunshot survivor (nine times at last count). He also helped to build his own buzz before he'd ever put out a record, by circulating his mix tapes and working the hip-hop circuit as his own goodwill ambassador."

Even the writers at Advertising Age join Mr. Berman in taking every opportunity to employ the argot of guttersnipes and illiterates in their praise of his marketing coup:

"You can buy advertising, but you can't buy street cred."

While I am still trying to process the cognitive dissidence of trying to imagine 50 Cent as a "goodwill ambassador" it has become plainly evident that there is no depth our consumerist culture will not plumb in order to make a buck. Or is there?

Take the case of a particularly noxious little miscreant who styles himself "X-Raided" and has managed to produce several albums of his thuggish art, all but the first from his prison cell where he is currently serving a 37 year sentence without possibility of parole for the cold-blooded murder of a middle-aged working woman who was unfortunate to have a son who was one of "X-Raided's" gang rivals.

His second album was recorded over the telephone from his current residence at a California correctional facility. Still, this hardly curbs the enthusiasm of his fans and critics:

"If you're a fan of hardcore/gangster rap and want to hear some true heartfelt music... pick up Unforgiven! Possibly the best rap CD of 1999!"
"Now this is one rapper who hasn't recieved (sic) the props he deserves. X-Raided is the siccest rapper on the West Coast since Pac. He keeps it real, that's why he don't get no radio play. The man's in the pen, steady thuggin, puttin it down for that G life."

Heartfelt music? And where does one go to buy the works of this Cole Porter of the penal circuit? Why, of course! And, I suppose any other major record chain in the United States. It would appear there is gold in murder and mayhem; capitalism in its finest hour.

My opinions here will certainly be rebutted with the tired old saw that I am a middle-aged, white male (the source of all evil in the upside-down multiculti world) and that I simply "don't get it." It will surely be remarked that my assessment of Tupac Shakur's "poetry" is unduly harsh and Eurocentric in focus because I believe it could only held up as poetry to a profoundly retarded six-year old.

But, think before you answer. (I know this will be particularly difficult for those of you who make a habit of listening to this aural sludge, so take your time.)

The point is that I do get it. Working as a reporter, I have seen the victims of assault, rape and murder and have seen their loved ones who survived them. Only the most depraved among us could possibly glory in the devastation left behind. Membership in the human race is certainly questionable when one profits from the misery and degradation of others.

With that said, I have no doubt that Mr. Greene's future is assured. He certainly has the "creds" now. I ask only one thing of you when you purchase his first "breakthrough" CD with all its "authenticity" and "urban" grittiness, please think of seven-year-old Chi'An Greene watching his mother being slit from ear to ear.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

To Put Pen to Paper…the death of penmanship.

Not long ago while sitting in my favorite coffee house, I was approached by a young woman who asked to see what I was writing. Not knowing her coupled with the fact that it was a personal letter, I was a bit hesitant until she said that she wanted to see the writing, or what I would have called the penmanship. Staring at the paper and the black scratching upon it as though it were some exotic piece of scrimshaw – I honestly do not believe she was reading the letter – she turned to me and asked if I had taken some special course in order to write as I do. The word she used was calligraphy.

Setting aside false modesty, I have always had a nice "hand" or "pen". As a child I always received an "A" in penmanship. Yes, our handwriting was graded. More importantly, it was also an indicator of an individual's character. I have often jokingly remarked that the nuns who educated me saw sloppy handwriting as symptoms of moral degeneracy and a precursor to juvenile delinquency and were to be addressed with "extreme prejudice" – or a ruler to the knuckles at the very least.

I disabused the young woman of the notion that this was calligraphy. This was simply how I wrote. She seemed incredulous that this was not somehow special. Calligraphy is a highly stylized and elegant form of handwriting used for artistic endeavors – this (the handwriting in my letter) was standard among children raised in the Catholic school system of my generation and earlier. The standard appears to have died out a generation before in the public schools, but I have no evidence to substantiate my claim.

The system used was something called the "Palmer Method" named after Austin Palmer a "graphologist" in the early 20th century who sought a way for students to complete with the encroachment of the typewriter. Eschewing the florid swirls of the Victorian and the idiosyncratic styles of the Eighteenth century, Palmer expounded a clean, uniform lettering legible to everyone. This, along with the insistence of drills, appealed to educators of the day.

Boys, as a general rule, suffered disproportionately, lacking as they do in most cases the necessary fine motor skills to achieve the mastery of ink and pen. There were, of course, no allowances made for left-handers with this particular pedagogical method. They were the recipients of numerous cracks across the knuckles until they relented and wrote with their right hand. There was a pragmatic rationale for this cruelty – lefties tended to drag their palm through the wet ink and smear what they had written. Besides, in 1959, conformity was considered a good thing. And while the ballpoint pen had been recently introduced, the nuns disparagingly dismissed them as "messy pencils".

The young woman and I agreed to meet again and I would bring my "real" pen set. Although this boxed set contains the necessary implements for calligraphy, the nibs, and bottles of ink would have been remarkably ordinary to most first graders fifty years ago. (Try to imagine handing out bottles of indelible black ink to six year olds today!)

Handing her the pen after I had assembled it (she didn't know how), I encouraged her to try her "hand" at it. It was a disaster. Her using too much ink, smearing, and an utter lack of the skills required, opened my eyes to how incredibly difficult a task it was to teach someone to write in this method. Certainly those with artistic gifts and training would probably fare well in their initial efforts but for most it is fraught with the drudgery of long hours of practice. My appreciation of the good sisters was reaffirmed.

I suppose it is bit anachronistic to lament the passing of good penmanship. There is hardly a justification for it. We have computers and cell phones. As a society we are moving more and more to the oral and the telegraphic. It's more than a little difficult to imagine a contemporary teenager praising the object of his affections for her graceful cursive. Today's elementary school teachers would probably be puzzled by the emphasis placed on good handwriting and properly appalled at the barbaric tactics employed to achieve excellence in the discipline.

Still, the passing of any skill, craft or art is bound to invoke nostalgia. When I receive a letter (this a much less frequent occurrence with the advent of e-mail) and it from one my contemporaries, it is like recognizing an old friend before you can say hello; Bob's peculiar "m's" which are virtually indistinguishable from his "w's" and Kent's tight loops and straight-backed script have become as familiar to me as their hair color (which is changing in most of our cases) and the sound of their voices and as unique as a fingerprint. No e-mail could ever be that familiar.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Quotes For The Day

I found these two wonderful quotes while catching up on my personal reading. The first is from John McWhorter on the subject of Coca-Cola:

"I understand that I am referring to a drink that has become an emblem of American imperialism. But I also submit that a great many who reflexively scorn Coke because of its corporate associations, if they first encountered it in a distant village in New Guinea as a warm, local brew made in earthenware pots and called something like aktiip'a, would cherish it as a masterful coca-flavored "indigenous creation" and eagerly seek to reproduce it for dinner party guests when they got home."

The second concerns the subject of elitism from Christopher Hitchens:

"I've increasingly become convinced that in order to be any kind of a public-intellectual commentator or combatant, one has to be unafraid of the charges of elitism. One has to have, actually, more and more contempt for public opinion and for the way in which it's constructed and aggregated, and polled and played back and manufactured and manipulated. If only because all these processes are actually undertaken by the elite and leave us all, finally, voting in the passive voice and believing that we're using our own opinions or concepts when in fact they have been imposed upon us."

Monday, November 17, 2003

Literary Biographies: Understanding or Cheerleading?

There has been a rash of "literary" biographies written in recent years, although it has been somewhat of a mystery to me that many of these biographies have sold more copies than their subjects ever did. I am ambivalent about the whole biography business at best. Does it really improve my understanding of the text that I know certain intimate details of the author's relationship with his mother? Will that information undermine or raise my appreciation for the authors work?

Three writers that have recently been in the news again in regards to biographical sketches have been George Orwell, Philip Larkin and Sylvia Plath.

I have never cared for Plath's work. I first encountered her while taking an undergraduate course entitled "The Young Protagonist" where we read The Bell Jar.Her poetry leaves me a bit cold. And since her one and only theme was "my daddy didn't love me, boo-hoo-hoo"; sticking her head in the oven was, in my estimation, a shrewd career move. There has always been certain cache attached to poet suicides, thus assuring "St. Sylvia" of an afterlife and certain pass on any real scrutiny of her talent. Will reading what a beast Ted Hughes was (and this is in some doubt) change my opinion of her writing? I doubt it. The new movie will surely allow us to witness her ascension into heaven.

Larkin is a prickly case, but one worth reading. The recent publication of his letters reveals that he was a nasty misogynist, racist, and class-conscious snob. Gee, you had to read his letters to figure that out? Although reading "Annus Mirabilis" still brings a smile to my face no matter how many time I read it, I was never under the delusion that I was dealing with anything other than a serious crank. Will I stop reading his work because we now have confirmation by his own hand that he was a flawed human being? Of course not, he was too good a poet not to be read.

Orwell may be the one writer where biography actually helps. He described himself as a "pamphleteer," that is to say he wrote very much in the moment. Although many of his essays such as "Shooting an Elephant" or "Politics and the English Language" hold up after five decades, but many are concerned with the political issues of his day and are perplexing to the contemporary reader. Bernard Crick's biography is by far the most helpful for the serious reader of Orwell in giving context to his more idiosyncratic writing. In a sense, Orwell was a proto-blogger. Christopher Hitchen's uncharacteristically fawning testament Why Orwell Matters, may not always be critically sound, but it informs you as to why Orwell still continues to influence many writers today.

While I have read dozens of these life stories, I can't think of a single instance where it has swayed my opinion of the quality of the subjects work. To know that Louis MacNeice drank twenty pints of Guinness in a single day (I certainly wouldn't want his bar tab!) or that James Joyce had a serious Madonna/whore complex doesn't diminish their accomplishments in my view. Perhaps these books serve a function for those of us who would rather choke than admit reading "People" that we get our share of gossip and titillation too.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Farewell To Democracy?

There are times when I genuinely fear for the future. Not so much for mine (as I am already older than dirt), but for my children's, who are very soon going out into the world. The expression "the barbarians are at the gate" seems a bit dated now. The truth is, the barbarians are already within the gates and those gates have been smashed into faggots for their campfires while they sit in front of their dung-encrusted yurts.

Jefferson and the other framers of the constitution fervently believed that it would take a well-informed and educated populace to make democracy work. The idea of civic education was that to survive in an often hostile world as well as to keep our democracy vibrant, free Americans had not only to be materially successful but also had to learn in the very first years of school those self-evident truths on which our unique country rests—unlike almost all other nations, which are founded on a shared race, religion, or birthplace. By teaching each generation the nature of elected government, the singularity of Western freedom, and the importance of consensual law, we hoped to evade the capriciousness of tyranny and offer a refuge to those who sought freedom from tyranny.

Our educational system has deteriorated to such an extent that according to The Polling Company, Washington, D.C., the average American is unable to identify even a single department within the president's Cabinet.

The survey of 800 adults found that a majority (58%) could use a refresher course in Civics 101, to say the least.

When prompted, they could not provide any departmental names whatsoever (41% could). Only 4% of those surveyed specified five or more of the 19 executive-level posts.

Is this proof that Americans are getting dumber? Perhaps not. Last year, The Polling Company determined that almost two-thirds (64%) of Americans could not offer up the name of even one Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Some lowlights of its most recent study:

. War: What is it good for? Rote learning, apparently. The Department of Defense was the most recognized among all 19 Cabinet departments, with 23% identifying it by name.

. The Department of Treasury (14%), the Department of State (13%), the newly created Department of Homeland Security (12%) and the Department of Interior (11%) rounded out the top five responses volunteered.

. No respondent named all 19 departments correctly and only 1% were able to name 11 or more within the President's Cabinet.

. The majority of members in some demographic groups failed to specify a single agency or department.

Hispanics (79%), African Americans (75%), 18-34 year-olds (70%) and women (68%) were among the consumers most likely to say "I don't know" when asked to name at least one department within the current Cabinet.

. Slightly more than half of the men surveyed (52%) could name at least one department, while less than one-third of women (32%) were able to do the same.

Sobering isn't it?

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Poetry and the "New Senility"

At least once a week I receive an e-missive in my mailbox from Poetry Daily. It had been a while since I last visited the site, but hope, as they say, springs eternal. The frequency of my visits had declined in recent months because I kept finding less and less to bring me back. Yesterday was to prove to be no exception.

Clicking on the link I found two poems by Stefanie Marlis recently published in the Chicago Review:

Transsexual Fall

Living behind windows shaped to catch the rain
(a house in me)
I long for someone who no longer is though isn't not
the signal a breath
fluttering against my own
red leaf
(an old friend can not keep from smiling as he confesses
his eyesight's failing)
the thrall of change
as summer slips unnoticed into fall

Transsexual Cloud

all through this metamorphosis we hunt for therapies burly reasons
ours, a knot that does not slip thunderclap
yellow basin settles behind a cloud lemon blouse carries the trash
only curly leaves befuddle me and you were a chiseled man
so long

©Stefanie Marlis/Chicago Review

My first thought upon reading these two "poems" was how wonderful it is that the Chicago Review should publish the works of recovering stroke victims. The lack of grammar, scansion, the series of nonsequitors, the erratic spacing and utter lack of sense would lead one to believe he was reading the work of someone who had suffered severe damage to that part of the brain controlling language.

Of course, you would be wrong. Ms. Marlis and her ilk are considered "serious" poets; or, at least, to the fans of such poetry. You have seen them if you have attended a poetry reading in the past decade: their navels proudly displayed and pierced: festooned with colorful tattoos that would make a Pictish chieftain green (or should I say, blue) with envy, chattering away in that curious gurgling argot of MFA programs and post post feminism. These are the people who can actually say "ongoing hegemonic appropriations" with a straight face and many of them have probably named their cat Sappho.

This is what much of contemporary poetry has become - words on paper - no rhyme, no reason, simply words on paper. The whole thing has the feel of word magnets tossed on the refrigerator and has been passed off as a joke.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

At The Eleventh Hour – A tribute to our veterans

Since it is Veteran's Day, I think it only appropriate to reflect on the sacrifices of those who were willing to lay down their lives or to set aside their personal ambitions that we might enjoy ours. Also, to think about those who are currently in harm's way on our behalf around the world.

The Observer ran a particularly trenchant article written by David Aaronovitch entitled At The Eleventh Hour. What I liked about this piece is his critique of the mindless sort of pacifism that seems so reflexive on the part of the Left these days. Orwell observed this phenomenon in the years before WWII and rightly condemned it. He had, after all, seen the naked face of oppression during his experiences in Spain.

I opposed the war in Vietnam but I would have served in the Second World War or the Spanish Civil War. Also, I have serious reservations about our involvement in Iraq, but supported our actions in Afghanistan. The horrible bloodbath in Rwanda could easily have been prevented with a minimal commitment on the part of Western powers and our interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo, albeit tardy, were the right thing to do.

The problem, as Mr. Aaronovitch so succinctly points out, is that the Nazis, Fascists, Taliban and Ba'athists haven't bothered to listen to John Lennon's "Imagine" or read the works of Ghandi. In short, flowers don't stop bullets and protest songs can hardly prevent "ethnic cleansing" or whatever horrible ideology a bully is presenting.

Only a sociopath could love war – particularly modern warfare. I lived in Belfast for two years in the mid seventies and even at that low level of conflict saw enough to make me hate war passionately. Of course, reason and discourse are always the more desirable options, but sometimes your enemy is deaf to all reason. It is at these times, I am thankful there are still young men and women who are selfless enough to stand up to those who would mean you harm.

Friday, November 07, 2003

Ongoing Hegemonic Appropriations

I've suffered many sleepless nights worrying about the "ongoing hegemonic appropriations" going on around me. What with worrying about paying the rent, feeding our children, and holding down a jobs, you would think we would at last confront this growing problem. Where are the authorities when you really need them?

Just what the hell does it mean? Well, nothing actually. This seems to be the "ongoing" trend in much of academic writing. Clarity, cohesiveness, and enlightenment were once the laudable goals of the educated writer, but this is no longer the case. Obfuscation, misrepresentation and a reliance on arcane and nonsensical jargon are the order of the day. I suppose they think it makes them somehow sound more important, but in reality, it only increases my contempt.

This example is from a review by Azfar Hussain of Dis/locating Cultures/Identitites, Traditions, and Third World Feminism by Uma Narayan.

"Narayan's preoccupations with the problematics of the representations of sati in Western feminist discourse indeed remain intimately connected to other representationalist discursive areas, namely dowry-murders in India and domestic violence-murders in the United States -- issues that she takes up in the third chapter of her book. Narayan takes a hard, critical look at the ways in which dowry-murders in India are framed, focused, and even formulated in US academic feminist discourse, while pointing up the dangerous problems kept alive by Western culturalist epistemological approaches to Third-World subjects, identities, traditions, and cultures. She argues that while crossing "borders" in the age of globalization, images, narratives, and the entire chain of events pertaining to the Third World lose their national and historical differentia specifica under the homogenizing epistemic logic of some readily available connection-making apparatuses. As Narayan further argues, such apparatuses -- informational, ideological, and mediatic as they are -- continue to provide visibility to dowry-murders in India and relative invisibility to domestic-violence murders in the US, thereby serving the hegemonic."

Not only is this bad writing, it is bad thinking. In fact, it is reminiscent of Orwell's parody of a passage from the book of Ecclesiastes in his essay "Politics and the English Language":

I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

Here it is in modern English:

Objective considerations of contemporary phenomena compel the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account."

I have deduced that Hussain wants me to understand western feminists don't "get" dowry murder and they are looking at it through a cultural lens that does not look favorably upon it. OK, so why couch it in such obtuse language? In one paragraph I count five neologisms alone. Certainly, there are fields of study that require a certain amount of technical language, or jargon if you will, that can express specific thoughts or problems germane to that field. But if it can be expressed in ordinary language, why not do it?
In this next paragraph, Hussain at least keeps the neologisms down to four:

"Such a self-critical interrogation begins to complicate the very question of identity itself in ways in which the continuing "colonialist" process of constructing "Third-World" identity and also even the practice of conjuring the ghost of authenticity haunting that very identity (as exemplified in various brands of counterproductive, essentialist identity-politics these days) are all brought into productive crises. For Narayan, indeed, the question of identity continues to constitute a predominant concern throughout the book. And her insistence on historicizing and contextualizing identity and difference within the deeply specific national contexts -- instead of just celebrating or, worse, fetishizing them -- seems right on the mark. According to her, the fetishization of difference and identity only renders them vulnerable to ongoing hegemonic appropriations in the metropolis."

How the hell does one "fetishize" something? Perhaps if academic writers would quit "historicizing", "contextualizing" and using words like "mediatic", we could all rest a little easier and concentrate on those "ongoing hegemonic appropriations."

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Skip the Diversity, Hand Me the Bottle!

It is beginning to appear as though there is nothing the multiculti crowd won't stoop to in order to promote their agenda. Violating free speech rights, shutting down student newspapers, and downright lying simply are not enough realize their brave new utopia. Now they are engaging in plain old racial stereotyping. It seems our universities are soon to have a new course of nonsense studies (to go along with "media studies", etc.) – diversity science, or as Ophelia Benson of Butterflies and Wheels describes it, "The Department of Jumping to Conclusions."

The Washington Post reports on a Harvard study claiming, "'binge' drinking by white male college students was significantly lower on campuses with more female and more black, Asian and other minority underclassmen."

"This study has shown that having a diverse student body on college campuses is an important factor in lowering binge-drinking rates," said Henry Wechsler, principal investigator of the study and director of College Alcohol Studies at the Harvard School of Public Health. "In making decisions about admissions, colleges should recognize the many benefits of greater diversity on campus, including a possible decrease in problem drinking."

This is all well and good except that The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has a different set of findings:

"Alcohol use is increasing significantly among Asian Americans, who constitute one of the fastest growing U.S. minority populations (6). Among adolescent minorities studied nationwide, African Americans show the lowest prevalence of lifetime, annual, monthly, daily, and heavy drinking, as well as the lowest frequency of being drunk (7). Hispanic adolescents have the highest annual prevalence of heavy drinking, followed by Whites (7). Among all age and ethnic groups, men are more likely to drink than are women, and to consume large quantities in a single sitting (7,4)."

Erin O'Connor at Critical Mass weighs in with this pithy observation:
"The the nature of the benefits white people receive from being surrounded by non-white emblems of cultural and genetic difference remains somewhat vague: part psychological (one's sensitivity will be enhanced, and one will be able to get in touch with one's own racism) and part sociological (one will be better able to function in the global marketplace if one has been exposed to cultures other than one's own in school), the rationale for diversity is largely the rationale of prospective, unquantifiable good. Now science is stepping in to change all that. In a new study from Harvard, researchers have shown that white, male college students are less likely to have drinking problems if there are lots of women, non-traditional older students, and non-white students at their school."

She goes on to say:

"Correlation is not causation, but you wouldn't know it from this write-up. If the article accurately represents the study, there seems to be a major logical problem here with the interpretation of cause and effect, and that problem seems to be licensed by the researchers' evident desire to rationalize demographic social engineering on campus by depicting young white men as collectively incapable of making intelligent behavioral decisions and by suggesting that as such they are in need of the moral example of racial and sexual others who possess more discipline and self-restraint. If the racial roles in this study were reversed, people would be screaming racism. But since the racial profiling of the study conforms to the reverse racism built into the logic of diversity, it's able to present itself as both good science and good Samaritanism."

It is interesting that the study made no mention of the higher rate of alcohol use among Hispanic teenagers or that it is a growing problem among Asians. Lets face facts, drug and alcohol abuse among young people regardless of ethnic or racial background is a problem and should be addressed. Yes, there are a lot of good reasons for diversity on campuses – first and foremost, it would reflect our society as it is and it would be fair. But, using "diversity" to save those poor drunken white boys from themselves is hardly a tactic I could endorse and it reflects the poverty of thinking and the illiberal tendencies of the Multicultural left.