An indescribable “conservative” confronts the Islamization of Europe; and the need for anti-liberal art
Jay Nordlinger writes at National Review:
Friends, I have been in Europe for a few weeks—first France for a bit, then Salzburg (where I was working at the festival). Jotted some notes for you—may I give you a few pertaining to France?
I saw signs and such translated into two languages: English and Arabic. When I first started going to France, the only translation was into English, and possibly German. This confirms an important change. (And lest you accuse me of being anti-Arabic, I studied it in college. You?)
The man is beyond ludicrous. With his self-dramatizing and attitudinizing he’s the conservative equivalent of a Hollywood hair dresser flouncing around. (To get the full flaver of what I’m talking about, you need to read the whole column.)
But let’s analyze what he’s saying.
First, he implies that the mere mention that there are now Arabic signs in France raises the reasonable suspicion that the speaker is anti-Arabic, a suspicion from which the speaker is required to defend himself. So he’s telling his readers that even to notice and comment in a neutral descriptive fashion about the fact of Islamization is a suspect thing to do. Which further means that in order to be free of the reasonable suspicion that you are bigoted against Arabs, you must not even notice it when Arabic becomes an established language in a European country. A truly non-prejudiced person would never notice or remark on this phenomenon.
Second, he takes the possible charge of anti-Arabism so seriously, that he engages in active steps to defend himself from the possible charge by informing his would be accusers that he studied Arabic in college.
Third, even the last step doesn’t adequately convey how seriously he views the possible charge of anti-Arabism (a charge based on noticing the spread of Arabic signs in France). He goes further, putting his possible accusers on the spot by asking them if they studied Arabic in college, as he did. Thus he implies that someone who has not studied Arabic in college and who notices the spread of Arabic signs in France, has no defense against the charge of anti-Arabism. Only Nordlinger—because of the special exemption provided by his college studies—has the right to mention, without being accused of bigotry, the spread of the Arabic language in France.
“The man is beyond ludicrous. With his self-dramatizing and attitudinizing he’s the conservative equivalent of a Hollywood hair dresser flouncing around. “
That’s true, and yet—he is the managing editor of National Review!!! It’s widely obligatory to diss the modern NR, but I don’t think one can appreciate the extent of its awfulness without focusing on things like this, the managing editor’s unbelievable tripe on the subject of Europe’s demise.
In terms of the first point, he is just about perfectly embracing the general rule of immigration elites: to notice and/or remark on any changes from immigration is automaticaly to be against immigration.
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But then his I-studied-Arabic line is so horrendous it gets into Stuff White People Like territory, if not more pathetic, like hackneyed parodies of hippie undergrads or something. The idea that studying the language in college is some kind of credential against racism…good lord.
Paul K. writes:
You wrote, “To get the full flavor of what I’m talking about, you need to read the whole column.”
I read the whole column and I was astounded—“gobsmacked” as Jonah Goldberg delights in putting it—by Nordlinger’s inane stream-of-consciousness. It reads like the Facebook page of a college sophomore. I subscribed to National Review from 1980 to around 2000, and for most of those years I was impressed with the quality of the writing, the erudition of most of the contributors, and the seriousness of thought presented there. What a pathetic spectacle it has become! I can’t understand how or why it continues to exist.
Did you notice the way he ends the column? He says his readers shouldn’t write to him unless they’re “nice.”
Philip M. writes from England:
If you studied Arabic at college in order to be able to communicate with people in Europe in the year 2030 would that make you a racist (for noticing) or a non-racist?
One of the greatest difficulties I have with following the Liberal Commandments (Allah knows I ‘ve tried) is pulling off the trick of celebrating Diversity whilst not noticing it.
The answer to your second quandary is: If you notice increasing diversity, you must put it in a positive light. If you mention a fact about increasing diversity in a critical light, or even just a neutral, descriptive light (e.g., “There’s been a big increase in the number of signs in Arabic in France”), then that is bigoted. Any statement about diversity must be made in a positive, celebratory manner or else it is bigoted.
My classic personal example. I was visiting the home of a liberal. On the kitchen table was a New York Tmes. I noticed a headline on the front page and read it aloud, with a mild tone of wonder in my voice: “Reform Judaism is going to ordain homosexuals as rabbis.” My hostess instantly said, “What’s wrong with that?” The fact of my registering this remarkable development without embracing it was implicitly negative. My negative message had to be counteracted.
And of course it’s the same with immigration. You can say that America and Europe are being transformed by immigration, but only if you say that this is the most wonderful, exciting thing.
So you see, Most Honorable Philip Al-M., liberalism is not self-contradictory after all.
James P. writes:
“Friends, I have been in Europe for a few weeks—first France for a bit, then Salzburg (where I was working at the festival). Jotted some notes for you—may I give you a few pertaining to France? I saw signs and such translated into two languages: English and Arabic. When I first started going to France, the only translation was into English, and possibly German. This confirms an important change.”
I was just in France for two weeks. I spent the entire time in Normandy. I did not see a single sign in Arabic, nor did I see any Arabs or even any black people. Normandy was, in fact, far far less “diverse” than Northern Virginia. On the other hand, Heathrow airport was a repulsive sea of diversity, and featured prominent signs to “prayer rooms” (and I’m guessing they’re not reading from the Book of Common Prayer in those rooms).
Unlike Nordlinger I attach no particular importance to my casual observations.
I’m not sure of the meaning of your last sentence. He observed Arabic signs where he was; you didn’t observe them where you were. So what’s the difference between the two of you that you’re pointing out here?
James P. replies:
Unlike Nordlinger, I don’t think anyone who makes a casual, touristy visit to France should attach too much importance to what he observes. I didn’t see anything but white folk in Normandy, but I am not willing to say, as a result, that France does not have any demographic problems. Nordlinger apparently is prepared to make blanket statements based on casual observation.
Philip M. writes:
James P. writes:
Heathrow airport was a repulsive sea of diversity, and featured prominent signs to “prayer rooms”
I feel the same way about Heathrow. The modern airport is a vision of the future. A shiftless, restless, swirling sea of humanity with no centre and no soul. A profusion of babbling tongues, of returned glares that signify nothing but mutual incomprehension or hostility.
Good theme for a poem acually.
There’s a lot of material there. Imagine what our supposed artists, poets, movie-makers, song-writers could accomplish if they turned their attention, their compassion for threatened ways of life, their horror at injustice, to the impact of the mass non-Western influx on the West.
Philip M. replies:
I know. It’s very frustrating. There is so much material, and no-one dares touch it. You’d have the whole arena to yourself. Every thought that has been expressed in VFR, there for the taking, in novel, poetry or film form. And can you imagine the appetite to hear it? All it takes is guts and talent. Sadly, I only have one of the requirements. :( [LA replies: Which, the guts or the talent? :-) ]
I have often pondered this. Does history make the man, or does man make history? Because there is a conjunction of forces, an interminable pressure bearing down on the West that should be producing diamonds, yet all we have is coal (art-wise—I mean, have you ever seen the Turner Diaries?). [LA replies: I’ve read descriptions of Turner Diaries, didn’t read it.]
There is the greatest novel of the last forty years bursting to be written. I feel it’s presence hanging in the air, like a literary John the Baptist. Who will step up to the plate?
I speed-read bits of the Turner Diaries. It is rubbish (one example—the act in America that bans guns is called “the Cohen Law”—geddit? Subtle, no?) I understand there is a French novel called “Camp of the Saints” that deals with these themes that I am desperate to read, and will read. That sounds like a proper book. Perhaps the Turner Diaries was only meant as a kind of self-help book for aspiring anglo-Jihadis. It has no other merit.
” I feel it’s presence hanging in the air, like a literary John the Baptist. Who will step up to the plate?”
Ha! Isn’t that just typical of the right-wing blogosphere—a vast, leaderless army all waiting for someone else to make the first move. Can the internet produce leaders?
A prediction: one day there will be two white people left. One of them will e-mail the other, complaining that there is an angry mob of Muslims outside his house, and will demand to know what he intends to do about it. The other will reply that he doesn’t know … but that he feels a definite change in the air. People are becoming sick of all this political correctness, and things are about to go our way.
Heathrow airport was a repulsive sea of diversity, and featured prominent signs to “prayer rooms”
The Manchester airport is a satellite facility of Riyadh.
Felicie C. writes:
An interesting exchange between you and Philip M.! You write: “Imagine what our supposed artists, poets, movie-makers, song-writers could accomplish if they turned their attention, their compassion for threatened ways of life, their horror at injustice, to the impact of the mass non-Western influx on the West.” I couldn’t agree more. This is why I strongly feel that art today has become irrelevant. There is no living, breathing art to be found (unless it exists in venues with which am not familiar). I used to be a great theater- and film-goer and an avid reader. I no longer go to the theater or the movies. There is nothing to see! And I haven’t enjoyed a contemporary novel in a long time. Again, they seem irrelevant and, despite their pretense to originality and calculated quirkiness, coldly and ineptly formulaic. So what I do these days is immerse myself in 19th-century literature and go to classical concerts (thank God, music is still available). My world of aesthetic experience has shrunk very significantly. I agree with you and your correspondent that there is a great epic novel or movie “in the air” to be written or made. But even if we find a person of great talent to do this, who will finance the project?
Alex K. writes:
I believe Tom Wolfe’s next novel is about immigration.
Yeah, it’s about Miami, and especially immigration there.
Richard P. writes:
Keep your eyes on Tom Wolfe. It’s rumored that his next novel is on immigration.
Leonard K. writes:
Interesting discussion. I was in Provence, France, a couple of months ago. I haven’t seen any signs in languages other than French. In cities other than Marseille (like Avignon, Aix-en-Provence, Arles), the presence of Muslims is visible, but not overwhelming. You spot a headscarf here and there; in a supermarket there may be 3 or 4 female customers in long black attire (where are the men?), out of about a hundred shoppers. But what is really frightening, is the future generation. I was visiting Pont du Gard, a 2000 year old Roman structure, that is still standing like new. There were several groups of school children, each accompanied by two teachers. In each class, only half of the students were European (I’m not saying “French” because I don’t know how many were Polish or other East Europeans). The rest were olive-skinned Mediterraneans or Africans. Some boys misbehaved or went too far from their group, and the teacher called them: “Jamal! Ahmed!”. The teachers were all French and spoke French with the students.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 30, 2009 05:05 PM | Send