Ross Douthat Oozing Stupid, Racist Thoughts About George H.W. Bush All Over NYT


Ross Douthat is getting a lot of heat for his column in today's New York Times (not gonna link it -- wouldn't be prudent). It's as overwrought and stupid as ever but more racist than usual. Douthat wonders if all "the nostalgia flowing since the passing of George H.W. Bush" (told you it was overwrought) is because "we" miss WASPs because "we" feel "that their more meritocratic and diverse and secular successors rule us neither as wisely nor as well." Douthat is very presumptuous in his use of "we." As someone who qualifies as "diverse" and "secular," I don't believe I'm responsible for America's decline ... or not solely, at least.

Based on my Facebook feed, Bush nostalgia seems connected more to Dana Carvey's impersonation of him on "Saturday Night Live," but maybe folks genuinely miss a politician who caved repeatedly to the right wing and famously broke campaign promises. There apparently are no politicians like this anymore. Douthat, of course, is not talking about Bush's actual deeds but his manner. He was the last truly WASP president, if you exclude his son, George W. Bush, which everyone insists on doing. W. Bush attended boarding school in Andover, Massachusetts, where he was a cheerleader, before his family name got him into Yale and Harvard. But he has a Texas accent so he's not some elitist like Barack Obama.

What's so good about WASPs and the days when they ruled the earth like boat-shoe wearing dinosaurs? Was it their throwing back gin-and-tonics while snarling at the help at the club? Douthat is kind enough to tell us in words that were clearly not read by human eyes or edited into coherent thoughts.

The WASP virtues also included a cosmopolitanism that was often more authentic than our own performative variety — a cosmopolitanism that coexisted with white man's burden racism but also sometimes transcended it, because for every Brahmin bigot there was an Arabist or China hand or Hispanophile who understood the non-American world better than some of today's shallow multiculturalists.

I guess if you sometimes transcend the horrors of colonialism, everything else is a-ok. It seems like Douthat is suggesting that WASPs who were really into different cultures somehow understood the "non-American world" better than the descendants or actual members of those cultures. That is advanced-level white supremacy.

Douthat, like most social conservatives, imagines a better world where the culture wars still happened -- the Civil Rights Movement, the women's movement -- but WASPs steered the ship immediately afterward and kept away from the stormy waters of everything about modern culture they detest. Douthat "compliments" Barack Obama by claiming he invokes the "admirable influences" of WASP attitudes and behavior. White supremacy is so ingrained in his thinking, Douthat can't imagine that what makes Michelle Obama and her husband so awesome might have nothing to do with how well they might "imitate" whiteness.

So it's possible to imagine adaptation rather than surrender as a different WASP strategy across the 1960s and 1970s. In such a world the establishment would have still admitted more blacks, Jews, Catholics and Hispanics (and more women) to its ranks … but it would have done so as a self-consciously elite-crafting strategy, rather than under the pseudo-democratic auspices of the SAT and the high school resume and the dubious ideal of "merit."

It's clear here that the establishment is still white men graciously choosing to include in the ranks "more" minorities (and parenthetical women -- just how I like 'em). White men would still rule us all. The self-determination of women and minorities is a horrifying thought to the Douthats, who fear a world without themselves in control. Douthat doesn't comprehend that a WASP-led society that is simultaneously slightly more inclusive would resemble something akin to apartheid South Africa. Remember WASPs dominated a world that excluded pretty much everyone who wasn't a white male. We're not just talking about the Ivy League. Black folks had to get our asses kicked to be served at a lunch counter. The world inevitably changes as more voices are heard. Kirsten Gillibrand expressed this sentiment on Twitter and WASP-enabler Marco Rubio was horrified.

What's strange, beyond Rubio's ability to stand upright without a functioning spinal cord, is that we just had an election last month that ended with the Florida senator's political party becoming even more white and male. This "we're all just Americans" BS is willful ignorance, especially when Republicans are very aware of race and ethnicity. They wouldn't know which polling places to close otherwise.

I doubt I'll find an angry tweet from Rubio about Douthat's column, even though Douthat regularly argues that religion is a key element of the American identity. And not just any ragamuffin religion: He thinks society went wrong when we exchanged "Protestant rigor for a post-Christian Social Gospel and a soft pantheism." (My pantheism ain't soft, buddy.)

To be fair, the historic problem WASPs have with encroaching modernity is not exclusive to social conservatives. It's a serious issue on the left, as well. White folks with white savior complexes aren't accustomed to minorities or women taking up so much space or expressing so many opinions that are their own. If you're not a straight white male, then you might feel just as condescended to by Douthat's liberal counterparts at the Times.

I'm reminded of the annoying and somewhat misogynistic monologue from the recent Aaron Sorkin series "The Newsroom." Sorkin's mouthpiece decries millennials as the "worst generation ever" and dismisses a young woman, based on nothing but her appearance, as a "sorority girl." He then subjects us to middle-aged nostalgia for days when better generations made America the greatest nation in the world. It is impossible to ignore that these supposed greatest generations had fewer, if any, women or minorities in control. What are we to discern from the ongoing not-so-subtle implication that art, culture, and politics were all better off before we got more involved?

Nostalgia, for either of the Bushes or even the Obamas, is never a good thing. It causes us to take our eyes off the road and lose focus on what matters, which is appreciating today and working toward a better tomorrow. As my old friend Prior Walter said, "The world only spins forward."

(I quoted a bunch from Douthat's word diarrhea, so I suppose I am obligated to provide a link, but you can just ignore it like the intro to a show on Netflix.)

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Seattle. However, he's more reliable for food and drink recommendations in Portland, where he spends a lot of time for theatre work. His co-adaptation of "Jitterbug Perfume" by Tom Robbins is playing NOW at Pioneer Square's Cafe Nordo. All Wonketters welcome.

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Once upon a time... about ten years ago, a group of entirely ridiculous men burst onto the scene wearing stupid hats and telling men that wearing stupid hats and telling men that walking up to women in bars and insulting ("negging") them would get them laid. This did not last long, as women also had televisions and computers and were completely aware of these tricks as well, so when some ass came up to us in a bar and said "Hey, nice nails, are they real?" we would laugh and laugh and loudly announce "Oh my god, this guy just tried to neg me! Can you believe that shit? HEY EVERYONE, THIS GUY JUST TRIED TO NEG ME!" and then refer to him as "Mystery" the whole night.

Most of the men who tried that shit only did so a few times before realizing that it wasn't going to work, and thus moved on to other things. Perhaps things that did not involve furry hats and coming off as a huge creep. We may never know, because I would assume that those who tried it are now extremely embarrassed and would never, ever admit to this to us.

Still, there were a few men willing to eat that shit up, as well as some grifters willing to take advantage of that. Said grifters tended to be extremely misogynistic and seemed more like they were teaching men how to be as despised by women as they were than teaching them how to actually be liked by women.

Some of them, like Roosh V, a creepy weirdo who actually does live in his mom's basement, actively encouraged men to rape women who were intoxicated to the point of being obviously unable to consent.

However, even that branch of the PUA tree is wilting away. Many "self-help" style PUA forums like Nextasf and RSDnation are shutting down or have already shut down. In March, Chateau Heartiste, a batshit crazy PUA turned White Nationalist/Alt-Right blog was shut down by Wordpress. This week, rape advocate Roosh V (whom you may recall once called yours truly a "Wonkette typist/clown face, would not bang") announced that he was renouncing his PUA ways and devoting himself to Jesus. He explained to the forum he manages that he would no longer be allowing anyone to discuss premarital "fornication."

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'Baby Geniuses' star Jon Voight took to Twitter early this morning to proclaim his undying love for Donald Trump, probably because there is no one left in his life who will listen to him talk about this, or anything else, in person. In this video rant, Voight encouraged members of the Republican Party, whom he apparently thinks are the only real citizens of the United States, to stand by Donald Trump and "acknowledge the truth" that he is the best President since Abraham Lincoln.

Part ONE:

People of the Republican Party, I know you will agree with me when I say our president has our utmost respect and our love. This job is not easy. For he's battling the left and their absurd words of destruction. I've said this once and I'll say this again. That our nation has been built on the solid ground from our forefathers, and there is a moral code of duty that has been passed on from President Lincoln. I'm here today to acknowledge the truth, and I'm here today to tell you my fellow Americans that our country…

Oh no, not our absurd words of destruction!

Part DEUX:

is stronger, safer, and with more jobs because our President has made his every move correct. Don't be fooled by the political left, because we are the people of this nation that is witnessing triumph. So let us stand with our president. Let us stand up for this truth, that President Trump is the greatest president since President Lincoln.

Does Jon Voight not know there have been... other presidents? Can he name them? Because really, it does not sound like it. Does he also not know that a very big chunk of the Republican Party actually does not care very much for Abraham Lincoln? Namely those defenders of Confederate statues that Trump called "very fine people?" Also, did he intentionally diss their beloved Ronald Reagan?

Who can know? Who can even tell what he is trying to say or why he is trying to say it. He doesn't appear to have tweeted much since 2016, so I'm guessing whoever's job it was to keep him from tanking his career quit. Either that... or after filming the seventh season of Ray Donovan, he found out it's going to be canceled or his character is getting killed off or something and he is now free to be a jackass? I don't know, I haven't watched the show, although my parents are very into it and mad that I haven't watched it. Literally all I know about it is that it has something to do with Boston, because they keep mentioning that to me like it's a selling point.

It seems useless at this point to note that the people who scream their faces off about how bad it is for Hollywood celebs to support liberal causes, and how they should keep their politics to themselves, etc. etc. make a way bigger deal than normal people do whenever a Big Time Hollywood Celebrity like Jon Voight or, uh, Scott Baio, supports their cause. Mostly because they're the only ones who have elected a reality TV star and the star of Bedtime for Bonzo (who by the way, also once practically ruined a perfectly good Bette Davis movie with his bad acting. Which is not to say that Dark Victory is not fantastic and probably the best thing to watch if you want to sob your face off, but he was very bad in it.) to run the country.

But we might as well do that anyway, because it actually never stops being funny.

[Jon Voight Twitter]

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