Today is Armistice Day, when the guns fell silent on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. We know it as Veterans Day in America, or, across the Commonwealth, Remembrance Day. I have some thoughts on the subject, and on the most famous Canadian poem of the Great War, here.
Via my compatriot Dr Roy, here is that most famous Canadian war poem, by Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, as recited by a far more famous Canadian poet, Leonard Cohen:
Leonard Cohen died this week. Godspeed.
~This is probably not the occasion to compare the vast conscript armies who slogged it out on the Western Front a century ago with their solipsistic progeny, the ululating ninnies of Generation Snowflake. This week American universities, now among the most expensive yet worthless institutions on the planet, have held mass "cry-ins" to protest Tuesday's election. At the University of Michigan, sufferers from PTSD (Post-Trumptastic Stress Disorder) were consoled with Play-Doh and coloring books. Can you imagine any of the teenagers who stormed the beaches of Normandy - boys who were men, and often five, six, seven years younger than today's elderly "students" - agreeing to participate in anything so ostentatiously self-indulgent as a "cry-in" followed by free Play-Doh?
What comes after the cry-ins? Monisha Rajesh, a journalist with The Guardian and my old newspaper The Sunday Telegraph, is hot for a "presidential assasination". In 2008, the left were luridly fantasizing about what I called Obama assassination porn - how the bigoted right would surely not wait long to kill the first black president. Eight years later, the same people actively urge the assassination of his successor. They are what they imagine their opponents to be.
~Yesterday I was on The Howie Carr Show, where Howie had some side-splitting clips of social justice "warriors" whose knowledge of history is so scant that hitherto they had no idea America wasn't a one-party state and that once every decade or so the other guy gets to win. "I am literally going to die!" shrieked one anti-Trump young lady, which has the merit of being indisputable: yes, it's true, she is literally going to die. What's up with that?
But death comes in many forms. One DNC staffer raged at Donna Brazile that it was all her fault: Hillary and Donna are old enough to die of old age, lucky bastards, but young guys like him will now get to die of Trump-accelerated climate change.
The sights on the streets of American cities are hilarious but also kind of scary: Generation Snowflake is literally (as that fatally cursed coed would say) protesting free elections. The GOP pulled off a hat-trick - the chief executive and both houses of the legislature - not only at the national level, but in half the states. They have two-thirds of the governorships, almost tying the record of 34 gubernatorial mansions set back in 1922. Sixty-nine of 99 state legislative chambers have Republican majorities. John Hinderaker writes:
As of January, the GOP will control the presidency, the House, the Senate, and an overwhelming majority of state government institutions. Just about the only things the Democrats control will be the press and–far more important–the federal bureaucracy.
Plus the stultifyingly homogeneous pop culture and the thought-controlled academy - which is why these delicate blooms are horrified to discover that in parts of America it's apparently still legal to have a different opinion. The day after the election, Glenn Lowry, Director of the Museum of Modern Art, sent the following email to every single one of his staff, operating on the confident assumption that to work under his employ one must share the same political beliefs:
From: Lowry, Glenn
Date: Wed, Nov 9, 2016 at 4:22 PM
I know many of you, like me, were dismayed by the results of the election last night. I will spend a long time trying to understand what happened and what it means for our future. But I take comfort in a note that I received from Marie-Josée Kravis, our president, first thing this morning who reminded me not to forget what we stand for, and to strive to be a beacon for the values we care about most. As I read her note, I thought about how fortunate we are to have trustees like her. I realized that our mission going forward suddenly had become clear: to be a model of an open, tolerant, and generous institution in everything we do. If we commit ourselves to making all of our decisions based on the degree to which they promote and encourage diverse political, social, cultural, and artistic positions, then we can be that beacon that Marie-Josée suggested. And, if we look back in four or five years and know that we were an inclusive place of gathering, a place of important conversations, and a place where people of all backgrounds and opinions found a home, then we will know that out of the darkness of a profoundly difficult and troubling moment we found a way forward. I encourage all of you to think of the many ways we can embrace and promote, through all our communications and programs, those values that are essential to a healthy and vibrant society.
With best wishes, Glenn
I shall resist giggling at the notion of Marie-Josée Kravis as a beacon of social justice. I had the pleasure of watching Marie-Josée give one of the most squirm-inducing performances I've ever seen on the witness stand during the Conrad Black trial. Ludicrously over-remunerated for attending lunch one or twice a year and "skimming" the annual reports, she had been prevailed upon by the feds to turn against Conrad because she'd been sent a so-called "Wells letter", which, had she not cooperated, could have prevented her making a cozy living sitting on boards as an "independent director", including perhaps MOMA.
But, as I said, I shall resist giggling. I am laughing my socks off, however, at Glenn Lowry's view of the Museum of Modern Art as "a place where people of all backgrounds and opinions found a home" - except those who vote Republican. Does he not understand the damage you do to civilized life when you demand that art can only support one political party?
Ah, well. He may know much about art, but he knows who he doesn't like.
Still, Howie Carr and I did our best to feel the distraught snowflakes' pain. You can hear the full show here, and I turn up a little over halfway through.