The Declarer (Floyd McWilliams' Blog)

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Aaron Haspel noted that political blogs can be boring because it so easy to make fun of some moron of the opposite political persuasion. I'm certainly guilty of that as much as anyone else.

(Though I note that in the same article Haspel linked to an Indymedia review of the Return of the King. And how could he, or anyone else, resist? I (block)quote:

The Racist Tapestry of Lord of the Rings !

By Lloyd Hart

I don't imagine that it was the intention of the director or the producers of the Lord of the Rings films to paint a racist stereotypical tapestry over what could be described as a basic set of principles of humanity's behavior in the natural environment and with each other. However, the fact is that the only people of skin color in the entire three part series of films are all associated with the Dark Lord Sauron, the destruction of the earth and all of its occupants. Not to mention the elephant riding mercenaries that resemble the cultures of the Arab world as well as Africa, Persia and East Asia and the fact that the Monarch of the land of Rohan, King Théoden a white guy yelled out "You great warriors of the West" in the final part of his speech to rouse the troops into battle in the third film.

In these times when a homicidal maniac from Texas (the Texas capital punishment policy under Bush) has stolen the American throne and called for a "crusade" against the "evil doers" in nations that white people have been invading, terrorizing, raping and pillaging in for 5000 years with zero provocation, I think we could manage some cultural sensitivity in our popular culture which one must acknowledge has a powerful propaganda affect on the general population that participates in it.

Can you imagine how people of skin color, of Persian, Arab and East Asian ethnic background feel when they come out of these films where all the heroes are white and all the "evil doers" are of dark skin. Being married to an Asian American I watch people disregard my wife everyday while regarding me, simply because of her skin color. Being part of a European family that has lived on the North American continent for 400 years I've been lucky enough to gain perspective that when you create an evil character (Uruk-hai) that resembles native Americans as they have done in the Lord of the Rings films a great deal of cultural and racial alienation will occur.

A brief UL of the various idiocies committed by Hart:

  • Hart assumes that his view of race holds true anywhere in the world. A black person from Nigeria who saw the orcs (one of whom, I think Shagrat, is a dead ringer for John Kerry), or the leftover-from-a-Mystery-Science-Theater-3000-movie Uruk-Hai, would never in a million years see them as Negro. There are other features that people pay attention to besides lily-white-skin or the lack thereof.

  • Elephants were used in battle by Semitic North Africans and by Greeks, and said elephants are now extinct, so it's hard for someone in an elephant-dwelling land to be insulted by the RotK villains' usage of these creatures.

  • White people did not invade and pillage other countries until about 2000 years ago, and until about 400 years ago the targets of "white agression" gave as good as they got. I guess you could think that white people have been imperialists for five millenia if you thought that the Indo-Iranian Aryans who conquered India were white supermen -- another data point on the recent trend of cohabitation between commies and nazis.

  • Hart commands the following amazing insight into American history and politics: Believes that capital punishment began in Texas with the election of George Bush as governor in 1995; thinks that the presidency is a throne.

  • He then brags about how he's some kind of Son of the American Revolution or something. "People of color are alienated, and as a white person from a good family I have special insight as to why that is so."

  • Finally he whines about how people disregard his wife because she's Asian. Dude, do you know any white people, besides the other spoiled rich kids at your commie hangouts? Any white man who sees an Asian woman and a white man is not going to be disregarding the Asian woman.


Now and again I read someone in the newspaper who is pretty much an idiot. And yes, making fun of him is rather like shooting fish in a barrel. My excuse for doing so is that I am irritated that a person can be pretty much non-functional from the neck up and still receive a platform from which to hector tens of thousands of people.

Was there a specific instance of this recently, you ask? Oh mais oui!

Joe Rodriguez is a person for whom about six trees and three squid are killed every week to provide grist for his musings. He writes in the San Jose Mercury News, and this column is a typical example of his output:

The $10-an-hour solution
By Joe Rodriguez
Mercury News

The caller said he was ``just an ordinary, moderate Republican.'' He was offended by illegal immigrants who want drivers' licenses, worried about good American jobs gone bad, and disappointed over the new talk about cutting a new immigration deal with Mexico.

Here was a guy who, like millions of ordinary Americans, sensibly touched on one of the basic but least talked about arguments against massive immigration. What offended him most was the claim that Americans don't want to do certain jobs. They will, he said, but at certain wages.


It's an appealing thought, isn't it? If only we got rid of the undocumented workers and drastically reduced the number of legal immigrants, unskilled but necessary jobs like mopping floors and digging trenches would pay decently again. Unemployed Americans would rush into the better ones, and we could bring in temporary guest workers for the rest.

This economic answer is a delusion. For starters, Americans are becoming better educated and more middle class. The population, in general, is aging rapidly. We will eventually become like the Japanese and Germans; we won't want menial jobs at any wage, so we'll have to import unskilled workers in large numbers. The question then will be whether they should have a chance at citizenship or remain second-class residents.


So here are just two modest proposals of my own to help enforce a new, Republican-driven immigration policy:

• Raise the national, minimum wage above $10 an hour because employers won't do it on their own. The goal should be decent pay and basic benefits for Americans in unskilled jobs, as well as a more stable workforce for their employers.

• Make the recruitment and hiring of illegal immigrants a felony. If you deny any American a job opportunity by breaking immigration laws, you should go to prison. That goes for corporate CEOs and middle-class couples who hire undocumented nannies, too.

Rodriguez' ignorance of basic economics is just amazing. If he was as ignorant of gravity he would lay awake at nights worrying that he might fall up instead of down. People are paid what their work is worth. If someone is making six bucks an hour washing dishes, increasing the minimum wage to ten bucks an hour is not going to give him a raise. It's going to outlaw his job.

Even more offensive is his call to make hiring an illegal immigrant a crime on a par with rape or manslaughter. It's an obvious sign of rhetorical and policy incompetence: "Crimes should be considered serious when they are ... stuff I don't like!" Rodriguez doesn't stop to think about what would happen to people who looked and acted foreign: Employers would fear that their documents were forged and would refuse to hire them.

How can you employ a columnist who has never heard of unintended consquences? Do Mercury News journalists know all twenty-six letters of the alphabet?



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