Cheap Seats 2017
Rhapsody in Clue(-less) - 07/19
By Rich Trzupek
On July 6 President Donald Trump gave a signature speech in Warsaw that celebrated Western accomplishments and Western values. As much as the Poles who heard it loved it, and as much as this second generation descendent of Polish immigrants did too, there was no doubt whatever in my mind that the left would despise it from the moment it was broadcast. Words came out of President’s Trumps mouth, ergo anyone who self-identifies as a “progressive” was sure to criticize some or all of those words.
The only question is what the basis for the criticism will be in any particular case. I didn’t think the left could surprise me any longer, but quite a few progressive commentators focused on the one part of Trump’s speech that a sane person would find about as uncontroversial as anything any public leader has ever said.
Apparently, to the deluded progressive mind, the following three words were a secret signal, or “dog whistle” as I have come to learn, to arouse white supremacists to action: “We write symphonies.”
Holy crap! How DARE he?! The incomparable Mark Steyn decimated the insufferable Jonathan Capeheart when the latter penned a column that the Washington Post somehow found fit to publish in which Capeheart damned those three words as follows:
In that one line, taken in context with everything else Trump said, what I heard was the loudest of dog whistles. A familiar boast that swells the chests of white nationalists everywhere.
What?! In what weird alternate reality does stating the fact that western civilization has created an atmosphere that allows for a Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven and Samuel Barber to create some of the most moving music on earth equate to “white nationalism”? All three would not be allowed to create their masterpieces in most Muslim-dominated countries today, and Barber would have been tossed off a roof-top in some of them because of his sexual orientation.
So I’ve got a few questions for Mr. Capeheart and his like-minded regressives. For starters, what music am I allowed to enjoy and to give western civilization credit for supporting the free market of ideas for its creation without being labeled a white supremacist? As a long-time fan, I know that Steyn not only loves the classic composers, he is also an aficionado of jazz, the torch songs of the big-band era and other “retro” genres.
Me? I go for old-time R&B, boogie-woogie and Motown ahead of anything else. Nothing against symphonies and jazz. It’s just the way my ear is tuned. Steyn was born about 100 years too late. Me? About fifty.
So where does that put me in Mr. Capeheart’s alternate universe? Does the fact that I adore the music of John Lee Hooker and his less well-known, but – in my opinion even more brilliant – cousin Earl Hooker make me a white supremacist? Since both are black, does that make me guilty of cultural appropriation?
How about my love of Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters and Van Morrison? They are white folk playing music that traces much of its stylistic roots to black folk. Does that make me a white supremacist too, or am I guilty of being an accessory of cultural appropriation after-the-fact?
People like Mr Capeheart are obviously too clueless to understand it, but one of the seminal moments in the civil rights struggle in the United States was when the amazing contralto Marian Anderson – who happened to be black – in defiance of the extreme racism of the day, performed a concert before thousands of fans of all races, in person and listening on the radio, from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1939. Anderson, then and now, would not have been allowed to sing in public, much less shamefully appear unveiled, in hard-core Muslim-ruled countries.
Let’s make it real, real simple Mr. Capeheart: go to the downtown section of any American city (you might want to exclude Dearborn, Michigan, but that’s your call) and play Earl Hooker’s “Off the Hook” on the sound distribution device of your choice. Play it loud and play it proud, but not to the obnoxious level. I guarantee that the reaction you get in this country will be a whole lot of people smiling, snapping their fingers and giving you a thumbs up for making their day.
Having done that, try doing so on the streets of any hard-core Muslim-dominant big city across the globe like Tehran or Raqqa. At best, you’ll be heading for a really crappy prison for a real long time. At worst, appendages – possibly including your head – will be removed by the authorities in short order.
“Western civilization” is short-hand for a civilization based on tolerance, freedom of expression and equal opportunity. All are welcome to join the club: east, north and south included. The other choice, the one that guys like Mr. Capeheart so whole-heartedly supports, is not about white supremacy, it’s about theocratic intimidation. Like it or not, all of us have to decide which philosophy of governance to support.
The other guys are more than willing to show their support their perverse version of fundamentalist, theocratic morality by sacrificing their lives in order to intimidate the rest of us. The question of our age is whether or not there are enough of us brave enough to oppose the violently-enforced imposition of fundamentalist, theocratic morality to change the course of history.
(PS: “Thank the hell outta ya Earl!” - you left us too damned soon.)