December 6, 2013

Chait: How dare anyone criticize Obama's narcissism! Didn't you see "12 Years a Slave?"

Jonathan Chait treats an Obama critic to a free screening of 12 Years a Slave
With 12 Years a Slave petering out at the box office after a decent but unspectacular run (currently $34 million and losing screens), liberals are increasingly angry that the well-filmed, erratically-acted, and poorly-scripted biopic remake has failed to shut down criticism of the President. From New York:
12 Years a Slave and the Obama Era 
By Jonathan Chait

This last weekend, I finally saw 12 Years a Slave. It was the most powerful movie I’ve ever seen in my life, an event so gripping and terrifying that, when I went to bed ten hours later — it was a morning matinee — I lay awake for five hours turning it over in my mind before I could fall asleep. I understand it not merely as the greatest film about slavery ever made, as it has been widely hailed, but a film more broadly about race. Its sublimated themes, as I understand them, identify the core social and political fissures that define the American racial divide to this day. To identify 12 Years a Slave as merely a story about slavery is to miss what makes race the furious and often pathological subtext of American politics in the Obama era. 
... The social system embedded within slavery as depicted in the film is one that survived long past the Emancipation Proclamation – the one that resulted in the murder of Emmett Till a century after Northup published his autobiography. It’s a system in which the most unforgivable crime was for an African-American to presume himself an equal to — or, heaven forbid, better than — a white person. 
That context was fresh in my mind when I read this column in National Review by Quin Hillyer, a conservative pundit, think-tank fellow, and former candidate for the GOP nomination in Alabama’s first Congressional district. In the midst of an otherwise unremarkable rant against the perfidious big-government liberalism of President Obama, Hillyer unleashes this: 
Every time decent people think the scandals and embarrassments circling Barack Obama will sink this presidency, we look up and see Obama still there — chin jutting out, countenance haughty, voice dripping with disdain for conservatives — utterly unembarrassed, utterly undeterred from any assertion of power he thinks he can get away with, tradition and propriety and the Constitution be damned. The man has no shame, no self-doubt, not a shred of humility, no sense that anybody else has legitimate reason to question him or hold any other point of view. 
It is bizarre to ascribe haughtiness and a lack of a capacity for embarrassment to a president whose most recent notable public appearance was a profusely and even flamboyantly contrite press conference spent repeatedly confessing to “fumbles” and “mistakes.” Why would Hillyer believe such a factually bizarre thing? 
One answer is that, by the evidence of this column, Hillyer believes all sorts of factually bizarre things. But most African-Americans, and many liberal whites, would read Hillyer’s rant as the cultural heir to Northup’s overseer: a southern white reactionary enraged that a calm, dignified, educated black man has failed to prostrate himself. 
Before plunging further into a poisonously defensive racial debate, I should note that I feel certain Hillyer opposes slavery and legal segregation, and highly confident he abhors racial discrimination, and believes in his heart full economic and social equality for African-Americans would be a blessing. (More than two decades ago, Hillyer worked against the candidacy of David Duke.) His feeling of offense at Obama’s putative haughtiness (“chin jutting out”) might be a long-ago-imbibed white southern upbringing bubbling to the surface, but more likely a flailing partisan rage that could just as easily have been directed at a white Democrat. 
You can accept the most benign account of his thought process – and I do – while still being struck by the simple fact that Hillyer finds nothing uncomfortable at all about wrapping himself in a racist trope. He is either unaware of the freighted connotation of calling a black man uppity, or he doesn’t care. In the absence of a racial slur or an explicitly bigoted attack, no racial alarm bells sound in his brain. 

Conservatives need to impose total crimestop upon their thoughts. Therefore, the operant conditioning will continue until morale improves.

43 comments:

el supremo said...

I love how it is somehow racist to describe Obama as "haughty" given that he famously proclaimed himself:

"A better speechwriter than my speechwriters .... I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director."

That is pretty much a textbook definition of someone with no self doubt or humility, especially given he was a couple years into his 1st senate term at the time, with his only prior experience as an under-involved state legislator for a few years.

hooter tooter said...

I thought he was devoting his time to his new book, "Case for Bush Disdain".

Anonymous said...

Paul Walker would have driven Solomon Northrup to freedom at 180 MPH in his Nissan GTR, bro.

Anonymous said...

BREAKING - partisan Democrat claims Obama critic is a racist. Did the sun also rise today? You don't say.

fish said...

How is Chait still on anyones payroll? He is nearly as fellatial in his piety as Matthews!

How do these guys look at themselves in the mirror in the morning?

Otis McWrong said...

"He is either unaware of the freighted connotation of calling a black man uppity, or he doesn’t care. In the absence of a racial slur or an explicitly bigoted attack, no racial alarm bells sound in his brain. "

I don't presume to speak for Hillyer, but if the inane Chait asked this of me, the answer would be "doesn't care".

Chait and his ilk can't have it both ways. Either blacks are equal or they're not. If they are, then when one becomes President and proves to be incompetent, arrogant, uppity, narcissistic, or any other pejorative we can think of, I'm going to say it. "Freighted connotation" or not.

Obama is an uppity buffoon. He would be if he were white (or more accurately, more white than he already is - enough to be called white).

Anonymous said...

lol @ "fellatial piety"

Eric said...

I read the following somewhere on the web, fits pretty well - Chait rhymes with hate.

pat said...

Actually last year there was a much more successful film about slavery. Not slavery a century ago but slavery today on a large scale.

I liked the movie so much I paid to see it twice on Amazon Pay-per-View. That's the only time I can remember doing that.

The film is 'Taken'. It deals with sex slavery. Most of those abducted are not American girls. Most I believe are Ukrainian or Eastern European.

It's odd that the plight of thousands of contemporary white women is not considered a suitable subject for 'social problem' movie whereas a single black man's difficulties a century or more ago is considered relevant.

Albertosaurus

NOTA said...

There is nothing easier than to convince yourself that the other team is arguing in bad faith, especially based on your emotional state. That's what's happened to Chait here.

Horrible things have happened in history, and are happening still. But neither Obama nor his opponents have a damned thing to do with the horrors of plantation slavery, and it's your job as a rational adult to recognize that fact.

Anonymous said...

The people who invented sugar plantation slavery and brought it to the Americas need to keep pointing and spluttering to deflect attention from the fact they invented and imported sugar plantation slavery into the Americas.

Anonymous said...

"t's odd that the plight of thousands of contemporary white women"

Spot on

Gringo said...

All I need to know about Jonathan Chait is that he purported to be an objective judge about the differences between conservatives and liberals,when he claimed epistemic closure was much more a characteristic of conservatives than it was of liberals.


Yes, this is the same Jo.athan Chait who once wrote"I hate President George W. Bush."

Such an objective judge.

Jonathan Chait is a shill masquerading as a wise man.

C. Van Carter said...

His reaction to a movie reminds me of John Hinkley.

DJF said...

“”””it was a morning matinee “”””

What a racist, he went to the cheap showing. When will this racism against Obama end?

Anonymous said...

I think the scales are starting to fall from the eyes of some whites, as the Trayvon escapade and other such begins the process of liberating whites from the burdens of white guilt. Conventional liberals feel the pull, too, since the logic is compelling, but they worry terribly about leaving the comfort of conventional wisdom, especially if they leave too soon and are held to account by the remaining true believers. Then comes 12 Years a Slave. It's like going to a revival meeting after having been tempted by the wicked ways of the city. No, no, no, we must stay the course. Give me that old time religion, it's good enough for me.

Dan said...

Anonymous12/6/13, 2:31 PM
The people who invented sugar plantation slavery and brought it to the Americas need to keep pointing and spluttering to deflect attention from the fact they invented and imported sugar plantation slavery into the Americas.



Indeed. The THMNBN ought to shut their pie holes. See Sao Tome and Recife and look at the actually slavers. They are not Anglo, sheet dey ain't even Hispanic.

Anonymous said...

Art film making 34 million is huge.

Anonymous said...

The most powerful film experience?

Or black slavery issue is the most powerfully effective tool for Jews to morally browbeat and intimidate whites?

I wonder how Chait would respond to a film about communist mass murder of Christian Slavs or Zionist killing of Palestinians? Or how blacks enslaved other blacks or how Jews once traded in European slaves.

And how did his kind react to the Passion of the Christ, by the way?

Steve Sailer said...

It's much less of an art film than the similar Passion of the Christ, which was in Aramaic.

Hunsdon said...

Better than Schindler's List? BETTER THAN SCHINDLER'S LIST? Who is this Chait mamzer, is he some kind of anti-Semite?

Anonymous said...

"Why would Hillyer believe such a factually bizarre thing?"

Speaking of the factually bizarre....


" One answer is that, by the evidence of this column, Hillyer believes all sorts of factually bizarre things. But most African-Americans, and many liberal whites, would read Hillyer’s rant as the cultural heir to Northup’s overseer: a southern white reactionary enraged that a calm, dignified, educated black man has failed to prostrate himself."

Now, why would Hillyer fail to imagine a clandestine secret shadow confederacy that has survived in america since the 1800's and persecutes blacks to this day with its bajillions of dollars in cotton money like all right-thinking credentialed academics of today?

Absolutely bizarre...


amoose1959 said...

Reality is foreign to ideologues. The movie just doesn't resonate in today's world. In fact it's message is unreal when we you see present civil rights leaders calling for invalidation of meritocracy criteria based on "disparate outcome" in the New Haven fireman's entrance test ,removing test requirements to go to a school like Stuyvesant ,lowering SAT scores of blacks to get into Harvard, ad infinitum. Now i realize i am talking in generalities but people think in generalities. Most of us today never knew slavery and we live in the present, so when we see a film of a dumb white guy berating a smart black guy we are suppose to see grave injustice based not only on slavery but on meritocracy , it just does't connect. The sooner we become common sense, clear thing adults and not adolescent ideologues the better off we will be as a nation.

Anonymous said...

If you ask me Newt Gingrich is much more narcissistic than Obama. But politics by it's nature attracts narcissists. Obama may be narcissistic compared to the average American but he is certainly less narcissistic than Bill Clinton.

Gloria

David said...

"Before plunging further into a poisonously defensive racial debate,"

Which he started.

It's like someone's punching you in the head and then telling you, "Let's not get violent, okay?"

Anonymous said...

I think I'm going to change my line of work to film-making. Specifically, I will produce movies for white liberals to get off on.

It doesn't seem that difficult. How about "Northup Unchained" for starters?

Alan G. said...

Yes, God forbid, Mr. Chait, that Obama be judged by the content of his character instead of the color of his skin.

Anonymous said...

Wow, just imagine what Chait's opinion of Mandela would be if he found out he is on tape singing a jingle about killing all the whites. (Not just some, or a few bad ones, but all of them.)

I'm sure he would be outraged by that racism, if criticism of a world leader gets him this worked up.

Big Bill said...

IT is a desperate effort at preventing white from seeing the chaos and insanity:

"If we can only guilt them for Bull Connors we can keep them from seeing their whole country is being taken from them! We just have to keep it up for another couple of decades and it will be too late for them to do anything!"

Dennis Dale said...

I've seen neither film, but it sounds like 12 Years is the SWPL's Passion of the Christ.

Passion of the Juiceboxer said...

In common with a lot of male New Republic employees -- "Attackerman" springs immediately to mind -- Chait presents as a container of partisan nitroglycerin ready to explode at a pindrop. He is a roided-up ideological brute straight out of a lousy Orwell parody. The commenter invoking John Hinckley, Jr. is onto something. Chait's editors must be thankful for telecommuting.

Anonymous said...

Clockwork Orange (and the Religious Left) train emotional responses.
This is done with Classical not Operant Conditioning.

Anonymous said...

It is bizarre... Why would Hillyer believe such a factually bizarre thing?

It's odd that Chait chose not to say "factually FALSE".

Because it's true that the facts, as relayed by Hillyer, are simply bizarre.





David said...

Anyone who name-drops Emmett Till nowadays (rather than, say, Channon Christian or a thousand others) is an ideologue of North Korean Workers Party intensity, or a brainwashed victim of same.

The Onion or someone ought to do a parody of the standard liberal race article, as previous parodists took the mickey out of the standard small-town Fourth of July speech of days gone by.

Fruity old farts nostalgitizing about Bull Connor and Rosa Parks and Emmett Till are imminently eligible for a brutal takedown.

Carmine said...

Since Chait brings up Emmett Till, I wonder if he knows the name of one, just one, of the hundreds of thousands of blacks killed by other blacks since the day Till was murdered? Didn't their lives matter to Mr. Chait? Shouldn't they be commemorated somehow? It's almost as if the young black life doesn't really matter to him, just the political point he can make off of it.

Anonymous said...

Weren't Jews highly involved in the trans-Atlantic African slave trade? I guess this inconvenient fact must be air-brushed from history.

Anonymous said...

The people who invented sugar plantation slavery and brought it to the Americas need to keep pointing and spluttering to deflect attention from the fact they invented and imported sugar plantation slavery into the Americas.


Indeed. The THMNBN ought to shut their pie holes. See Sao Tome and Recife and look at the actually slavers. They are not Anglo, sheet dey ain't even Hispanic.


Weren't Jews highly involved in the trans-Atlantic African slave trade? I guess this inconvenient fact must be air-brushed from history.

Interesting. But if people are going to throw stuff like this around, they should provide links to credible sources to back up these claims.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. But if people are going to throw stuff like this around, they should provide links to credible sources to back up these claims.

Alexander Hamilton's mother was something of an avant-gard trend-setting 18th-century hypergamist.

At some point in her life, she appears to have taken up with a Jew in St Croix, and young Hamilton himself was eventually edumakated by a Jewish school in St Kitts [???].

It is left as an exercise for the reader to figure out how all those Jews were supporting themselves in that neck of the woods.

Anonymous said...

It is left as an exercise for the reader to figure out how all those Jews were supporting themselves in that neck of the woods.

Jews in St Kitts, therefore they must have been part of the slave trade - is that the conclusion you wish us to arrive at?

If so, no thanks.

Svigor said...

It's no secret that Charleston has one of the oldest (1st or 2nd?) synagogues in the country, and that it was built with slaver's money. Much of south/central America was built on slavery, and again, it's no secret that Jews dominated the trade there. What is kind of a secret is just how much Jewish blood there is in Brazil/Mexico/etc. It's starting to look to me like Brazil is essentially a Jewish country, insofar as it is a Caucasoid one.

E.G.

Anonymous said...

Jews in St Kitts, therefore they must have been part of the slave trade - is that the conclusion you wish us to arrive at?

My bad.

You're right - they were all just cobblers offering their services gratis so that the poor natives wouldn't have to go barefoot.




Anonymous said...

@ Svigor -

The website to which you linked takes a very expansive view of crypto-Jewish claims. Crypto-Jews did settle in Brazil and elsewhere in Central and South America. However, non-Jewish Portuguese and Spanards also came to the Americas in large numbers. So while it is plausible that some Brazilians might have a small amount of Sephardic ancestry, it would likely be dilute. Traditionally, Judaism has not regarded possessing a dilute amount of Jewish ancestry to equate to being Jewish. This site's Brazilian readers could offer their perspective if I'm wrong, but I don't think interest in Sephardic ancestry or Jewish religious practice is a major phenomenon in modern Brazil.

Observer said...

UPDATE: Chait is now being eaten alive on the race issue by his fellow liberals, beginning with Ta-Nehisi Coates. All the Emmett Till references he could make are not going to save him. Some background via this thread:

http://crookedtimber.org/2014/04/15/why-race-has-been-the-real-story-of-obamas-presidency-all-along/