Showing posts with label Madness of Crowds. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Madness of Crowds. Show all posts

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Why Are You Cardassian?

Writer Robert Hewitt Wolfe wanted Dr. Bashir to tell Kira at the end of the episode that he could not confirm whether she was a Cardassian replacement or the authentic Bajoran Kira in order to leave Kira permanently unsure of her original ‘identity’. 

He felt this would emphasize that our identity is based on our experiences and who we have been, 
regardless of one's actual origins; 

"She has been Kira Nerys. She may be the real Kira Nerys, she may be a replacement, but she's Kira Nerys now, and it doesn't really matter. 

Your identity is who you are, it doesn't matter how you get there, it doesn't matter whether it's true or a lie, if you've lived it long enough, it's true." 

However, this idea was dropped from the final version of the story.


“The London School of Economics is, as it boasts of itself, one of the world’s leading universities of the social sciences: ‘With an international intake and a global reach, LSE has always put engagement with the wider world at the heart of its mission.’ 

Over at its LSE Review of Books page in May 2012 a review appeared of a new book by Thomas Sowell. Intellectuals and Society had come out two years earlier, but in the world of academia intellectual drive-by shootings often happen at a more leisurely pace than in the rest of society. 

The reviewer, Aidan Byrne, was the ‘Senior Lecturer in English and Media/Cultural Studies’ at Wolverhampton University. In this capacity – his byline informed us – ‘he specialises in masculinity in interwar Welsh and political fiction, and teaches on a wide range of modules’. 

A perfect authority for the LSE Review of Books to put in judgement over Sowell. For his part, Byrne was ‘unimpressed’ by the ‘highly partisan’ nature of the book. 

And so, two years after Sowell’s book had been published, Byrne took aim and attempted to fire. 

From his opening line he warned that ‘Intellectuals and Society consists of a series of outdated and sometimes dishonest shots at Sowell’s political enemies.’ 

Among other charges included in Byrne’s review was a claim that one line in Sowell’s book echoed the concerns of the Tea Party and constituted ‘a thinly-disguised attack on racial integration’. 

An even odder allegation against Sowell came when Byrne warned readers that Sowell’s references to racial issues constituted little more than ‘disordered and disturbing “dog-whistles”’. 

In a similar fashion, Sowell’s arguments about the legacies of the past were also ‘a coded intervention’. Warming to his theme, Byrne explained that ‘To him [Sowell], slavery’s cultural legacy means that it shouldn’t be considered a moral problem, nor should amelioration be attempted.’ 

To this charge Byrne then added the devastating rider which turned out to be an act of unbelievable self-harm.

To their credit, as it now stands the LSE site has an ‘amendment’ at the bottom of the piece online. 

It is one of the great corrections. 

It simply notes the deletion of a line from the original piece. ‘The original post contained the line “easy for a rich white man to say’, admitted the LSE site. This has been removed and we apologise for this error.

As well they might. For of course whatever the state of his income, Thomas Sowell is not a white man. He is a black man. A 

very famous black man – who LSE’s reviewer only thought to be white because of the nature of his politics.

It is a suggestion that has crept into an otherwise liberal debate with barely a murmur of dissent. 

And it has arrived from quite a range of directions. 

Consider for instance the reaction to the strange, and vaguely pitiful, case of Rachel Dolezal. This was the woman who became almost world famous in 2015 when, as regional head of the NAACP, she was suddenly ‘outed’ as white. During a television interview, Dolezal was memorably asked if she herself was black. She pretended not to understand the question. 

When confronted with the evidence of her birth parents the interview crashed into a buffer. 

For Dolezal’s parents were not merely Caucasians, but Caucasians of German-Czech origin – which is very far away from the black American identity that Dolezal herself had adopted. 

Eventually, while admitting that her parents were indeed her parents, she insisted that – nevertheless – she was black. 

Her identification with the black community in America seemed to have come about through her closeness to her adopted black siblings. 

Nevertheless, as her adoptive brother said, ‘She grew up a white, privileged person in Montana.’ 

She had managed to pass herself off as black by little more than the careful application of bronzer and a somewhat stereotypical frizzing up of her hair. 

This – and the fact that most people were clearly too terrified to say, ‘But aren’t you white?’ – meant that Dolezal was able not only to ‘pass’ as black but head up the local chapter of an organization set up for black people. 

The Dolezal case threw up an almost endless series of questions, and both it and the responses to it in some ways presented an opportunity to dissect a whole array of aspects of today’s culture. 

Not least among these moments was the divide that arose among prominent black people, spokespeople and activists. 

On The View on ABC-TV, Whoopi Goldberg defended Dolezal. ‘If she wants to be black, she can be black’, was Goldberg’s view.

It seemed that ‘blacking up’ was not a problem on this occasion. More interesting was the reaction of Michael Eric Dyson, who stood up for Dolezal in a remarkable way. On MSNBC he declared of Dolezal, ‘She’s taking on the ideas, the identities, the struggles. She’s identified with them. I bet a lot more black people would support Rachel Dolezal than would support, say, Clarence Thomas.

All of which suggested that ‘black’ was not to do with skin colour, or race. But only politics. So much so that a Caucasian wearing bronzer but holding the ‘right’ opinions was more black than a black Supreme Court Justice if that black Supreme Court Justice happens to be a conservative.