Bleeding Heart Victims

I’ve just seen a disturbing scene that was caught on a street surveillance camera. A man was brutally beaten by a subhuman thief who rapidly, repeatedly, and viciously punched the helpless victim who was already down on the sidewalk. The image was hard to watch. I was unable to wipe the scene from my mind for quite a while.

In his frenetic desire to deliver his victim as much pain as possible, the criminal’s energy forced his pants to slide almost down to his knees.  In retrospect, I was reminded that the pants were already far below his beltline thereby revealing his bright red underwear, a tribute to prisoners who are not permitted to wear belts in jail (a style – or lack thereof – which I believe is now all but gone). 

As is my custom, I wondered how someone could become so consummate a bully. And then I remembered the slogan, “Defund the Police.” And, in turn, that thought led to my steadfast conviction that so many people, including major government officially, are consummately wrong about defunding the police. That is not just an opinion on my part, it is a fact. 

Yes, the barbaric action of the incident I’ve described above might have occurred despite a full contingent of a municipal police force, but the need for a protective force in general is axiomatic. Defunding the police borders on anarchy. How could they not know that! The victim might have been spared that pain and life-threatening experience had there been a policeman at that location. The very expression, “Defund the Police” is weird! 

Bleeding hearts had better reserve their sympathy for hardworking Americans and small business owners rather than support people who are passive or even encourage a Socialist Democratic America. The title alone sends shivers down my spine. 

And, while I’m at it…please allow me to briefly refer to other not exactly American trends. 

They are:

“Cancel” this and “Cancel” that… multi-gender identification…or lack of it…for the same individual…asleep or “Woke?”…what’s wrong with the word, “aware”?…the denigration of the American language…the word is ‘mothers,’ not ‘birthing people’…(does ‘birthing people’ mean that fathers are fertilizers?)…the need for a humiliating catharsis from being white…and so on;

Please, folks, Let’s not turn the United States into Romper Room. Let’s not denigrate the American lifestyle, whatever its faults.  Let’s not erase our borders for political purposes. Let’s not fabricate enmity between black and white. 

Let’s stop apologizing for America.

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Institutional Race Theory and Systemic Genocide

Institutional Race Theory

[First, a sort of disambiguation…but not quite:

Although we all know the words ‘hypothesis,’ ‘theory,’ and ‘ law,’ the more detailed the definitions given for their shades of difference, the less agreement among scholars and  others in general.

Theoretically, laws are not ambiguous. But there are instances when a lawyer crafts an interpretation of a law to make it ambiguous in order to win a case…not usual, but a part of  legal games.  

Apart from science, theories are considered by some as better than hypotheses, but there is an expression that belies that assessment with: “It’s only a theory!” Some think that hypothesis and theory are interchangeable, while others cite their differences. 

I would be more explicit but this article is not about semantics and, more importantly, I don’t want to fall into the traps I’ve described above.] 

Einstein’s twin theories, General Relativity and Special Relativity, Darwin’s theory, The Evolution of Species, and Copernicus’ Heliocentricity are theories. Institutional Race ‘Theory’ is neither a theory nor an hypothesis. By that, I do not mean that institutional racism is not real. It is real. It is ugly. Worst of all, institutional racism is a severe barrier to the attainment of the American Dream for nonwhite people.* Understandably, it is also a major source for anti-white sentiments. Yet, there are many of us, black or white who know that there is only one race, the human race. 

It’s disheartening to observe that the overwhelming majority of political officials who champion the abolition of what they view as ‘white supremacy’ are themselves guilty of supremacy. They lecture us about politics. Their tone, body language, and facial expressions drip with condescension, a characteristic blatantly displayed as they patiently explain the difference between ‘equality’ and ‘equity.’ 

Many of us are aware that institutional barriers are in severe opposition to the American Dream. There are also many of us who know that we are not unconscious of our alleged prejudice. We do not accept unearned guilt. We know who we are and who we are not.  

Dr. King didn’t live to see his dream realized. At my age, neither will I. But, like him, and millions of others, I share that dream.  

* Black/African American, Asian American, American Indian (Alaska), Native Hawaiian, and other Pacific Islands.

Systemic Genocide 

Unlike Institutional Race Theory, Systemic Genocide is not complex. One tragic instance fits all. The death of individuals (black or white, law-breakers or police officers) in the heat of violent confrontations is tragic. But it is not a holocaust. Six million Jews plus other ‘undesirables’ were killed by Nazis: that was a holocaust, impeccably systematically. 

The slogan, Black Lives Matter, clearly and loudly proclaims that policemen don’t think black lives matter. To claim that there is systemic genocide in America is an insult to six million Jews and millions of other holocaust victims, their families, and to the intelligence of millions of Americans. 

The word Matter in the slogan, Black Lives Matter, unequivocally claims that police officers believe that a black man’s life is of no significance. That claim is blatantly untrue. No matter how effective the slogan, it is a profound racial slur created by a political racist wordsmith. Tragically, the violent death of men would not occur if only the detained man would simply not resist arrest

Of course violent deaths, whatever their cause, are deeply regrettable. But deaths occasioned by resisting arrest have nothing to do with black or white…systemic or otherwise. Deadly confrontations are not necessarily generated by the arrest itself. They are often the result of a tragedy waiting to happen. 

But it is personal racism that sustains racism, from its malignant roots to the surface of society. Institutions are inanimate. Laws are able to go only as far as people will  allow them to go. As it has been in the past, it will be literary artists like Harriet Beecher Stowe and films like Schindler’s List, and outstanding politicians that will prevail over injustice. 

Martin Luther King, Jr. eloquently said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

Just as inspiring as Doctor Martin Luther King’s intellectual speech, there is a video that occasionally surfaces on television.  The video is the emotional version to Dr. King’s famous words. 

Also inspiring, but without a word, the video shows us two children, aged 5 or so, one black, the other white, who have not seen each other for a long time. About one hundred feet apart, they are held by two adults. Then, they are released. They run toward  each other at top speed, and then hug each other for a long time.

Dr. King’s speech and the heart-tugging re-union of those two little boys are all we need know about prejudice. And it is all we need know about racism. The two narratives above are part of what it means to be human. Riots and “Woke” won’t cut it!     

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Cancel Culture Cult

“Look at that face…Would anyone vote for that?”              

                     President Donald Trump, then a presidential candidate 

“Shut your face.” 

                   Maxine Waters, as Chairwoman at a Covid-19 hearing

We need to talk…I mean, really talk… 

To begin with, ‘systemic racism’ does not reflect reality. Although even one death is tragic ─ whether it’s a policeman or a criminal who is killed ─ ‘systemic racism’ is a term that applies to genocide, not to violent law encounters. It’s obvious that the officer who shot an 11-year-old did not do so with the intent to kill him. Anyone who accuses that officer of intentionally killing the kid would do the same as the officer did under those circumstances…

…We need to talk…

Sadly, the police officer desperately tried to keep the kid alive. Would a Monday morning quarterback do that? Probably not. And, no, the officer’s  effort to save the kid was not just to get himself off the hook. Only a sour skeptic would think that was the case. The officer is going to have to live with that memory for the rest of his life, in or out of prison.  

…We need to talk…

‘Defund the Police’ is suicide on a massive scale. The ‘Black Lives Matter’ slogan  accuses policemen, especially white policemen, of being casual killers.  Remember that It was Maxine Waters who said the officer in the George Floyd case, Derek Chauvin, got up in the morning and thought, “I’m gonna get me one of those“ (meaning a black man. That hypothetical accusation is not only false, but extremely offensive. 

…We need to talk…

The Cancel Culture Cult (CCC) lays a national-sized guilt on white people. They brainwash white people into believing that white people are evil because of the color of their skin, the cult’s version of Original Sin. I shudder to think that in America(!) they conduct rituals designed to have white people, bathed in tears, confess that they are evil. I suppose that’s a sort of catharsis…or is it a ‘woke’? 

…we need to talk. I mean, really talk. 

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The Crucible, Act Two

Opera is often and appropriately referred to as The Splendid Art. See and hear a fine production of a Grand Opera and the reason for that distinction is self-evident. Having said that, I add that directing a play is a silent art; an art which I have had the privilege to practice for a lifetime. I call directing a silent art because a director must precisely ascertain the author’s intent, the essence of its characters, and the fundamental style of a play ─ all of which must be meticulously resolved before assembling a cast for the show. 

I’ve presented The Crucible three times. The first time was at an Off-Broadway house in Greenwich Village, New York City. The play was performed on the ‘dark night’ of a play running there at the time. The ‘set’ was minimalist, of course, as it had been for the community theater production as well, where I preferred it to be minimalist. But it was fully costumed and the playbills were in the form of scrolls. 

Although the actors had sent flyers to many theatrical agents, not one of them came to see the show. But the performance received a standing ovation, and I knew that if I could direct The Crucible well, I could direct any show. The second and third times I directed The Crucible were just as rewarding as the first time had been

For me, the best part of directing a show is its rehearsals. An example of why I enjoy them so much follows.

There is a scene in the second act where Reverend Parris interrogates a married couple ─ John and Elizabeth ─ about their Christian duties and fidelity. I exclusively reserved a full rehearsal for them alone because the subtext of the scene is exquisitely rich and subtexts require the most meticulous ensemble acting. 

At the beginning of their next exclusive rehearsal, I asked the actors to play the scene without interruption. Almost immediately, I was shocked to see that my subtext input was gone. None the less, I allowed the entire scene to be played without interrupting them. Two of the actors were not flustered by the unexpected change made by the actor who played the Reverend brilliantly.  But his change, rendered the scene as a whole, flat. I delicately told them that, including the reasons for its flatness.  The ‘Reverend’ then said, “It’s my fault.” I then asked them to play the scene again. This time it was played exactly as I had directed it. When I thanked them for their ‘revised’ performance, the ‘Reverend’ brandished the broadest of their smiles. 

When I directed The Crucible for the first, second, and third time, I was not aware that its author, Arthur Miller, had been disappointed by the premiere of his play, which was played in a stereotypical manner, a common affectation associated with period pieces.  

All three of my productions allowed the script to speak for itself and focused entirely on its universality, undistracted by any emphasis on the play’s period. The costumes were those of pilgrims, which were not distracting, as are many period plays in modern dress. On a one-on-one television interview, Mr. Miller expressed his view that the play should be played bigger-than- life. I think he said, “like opera.” In any case, that’s as I directed The Crucible many years before that interview. Barring ‘overacting,’ a director should be able to have actors excite an audience without music.

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From Dawn to Dusk

A long time ago I had my first political debate with a stranger who happened to be black.  It was neither a formal nor planned debate. It just happened. Our forum was on a street corner in New York City. We were both very young, waiting outside for our dads to attend to business at the Roseland, then a famous dance hall evenings, a meeting place for musicians to network during the daytime. 

The black man and I exchanged small talk which soon developed into a political discussion, the focus of which became and remained, a debate on racism, although at that time neither of us used the word racism, let alone racist.

Although the transit from small talk to racism was smooth, our discussion was a cliché exchange, as are an overwhelming majority of debates. The one exception to our cliché encounter is that I was not at all defensive about being white. It was and still is easy for me to be non-defensive because I was and still am intrinsically not defensive. I don’t feel guilty just because someone claims I must be because I’m white. Nor do I accept the nonsense that I must be guilty even if only subconsciously.

However uncomfortable that sidewalk encounter was when I was very young, it provided me with the resolve to never again encourage circular debates. I’ve easily kept my resolve through the middle of my ninth decade. At the first sign of a cliché, game over!

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