Sunday, September 13, 2020

Seeing all the way to here …

… Chekhov’s 2020 vision by Kyle Smith | The New Criterion. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A condition of widespread contempt for one’s own way of living is a sign of a weak, defenseless, decadent culture. Today’s Yashas pick up a copy of TheNew York Times that spreads the claim that America always was, and is today, defined by racism, and think, “Bravissimo, it’s about time someone stood up and told the truth about how immoral we are. What time is our dinner reservation?” Cultural elites cheer as the symbols of our heritage are torn off their pedestals and introduced to the bottom of the nearest river. A brief video, much shared this summer of unrest, showed a young white fellow in an apartment filming himself giving a thumbs up sign to a passing mob, only to be rewarded by having a brick thrown through his window: “Holy shit, we’re on your side,” someone in the apartment calls out, as a second projectile breaks another window. Pure Chekhov, that.


  1. I look forward to the day that the Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Straw Men will rise to the prominence of the ASPCA, and editors will be eager to add the endorsement "No straw men were damaged in the course of this opinion piece."

  2. I’m actually not sure what you mean. But maybe you should drop a line to the New Criterion. Or maybe you buy the idea that “ America always was, and is today, defined by racism.” In which case please explain how it could be that Pharaoh enslaved the Hebrews. Or that Epictetus could have been born a slave. And that would be only the beginning. I’ve had a bad day. And am in a cranky mood.

  3. I do not buy into the 1619 Project, thanks. (Though I do think that at some point in talking about America one probably has to mention race.) I live in fairly prosperous zip code, and though I do now and then meet the person who verges on caricature, I don't meet many who demonstrate contempt for their own way of living. They do not display obvious signs of weakness, defenselessness, or decadence. Yes, such types exist, but not in the numbers suggested, I think.

    This sort of essay strikes me as the flip side to the sort of thing that one can read elsewhere that caricatures the Trump voters or simply the residents of the country and deep exurbs.

  4. Now I understand. I took the piece to only be saying that Chekhov limed a type that one runs into even today. I agree that the type is not terribly common —thank heavens — except maybe in certain academic circles. Thanks for clarifying. We pretty much agree.