Things I’m Not Supposed to Like

Well, not just books. All types of media.

Believe it or not, though I read mostly non-leftist to conservative leaning, anti-SJW blogs, I’ve noticed that political correctness is still something that exists. It’s just that the Overton Window has shifted. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

The first time I noticed this was with my first scuffle with John C. Wright. I want to point out now, I’m not bringing this up as a way to dredge things up with Mr. Wright, who I have a lot of respect for. And he apologized, and I accepted. So I’m not returning to that argument. I’m just acknowledging the reaction. To wit: Mr. Wright claimed I had a darkness in my soul and was, essentially, a secret nihilist.

Why?

Because I liked “Silence of the Lambs”.

Why did I like it? Well, the acting was great, and it was a horror movie that was actually, legitimately frightening. Why else are you watching a horror movie? But “Silence” beat out “Beauty and the Beast” for the Oscar that year (as it should have, by the way – Shots fired!), and horror movie or not it had a nihilistic philosophy and portrayed Hannibal the Cannibal sympathetically. So even though it was designed to be horrifying and advertised that way, and it was an entertaining watch, I am WRONG for liking it.

And forget ANYTHING about racism. I mentioned in passing, again at Wright’s place, that I liked the play “Fences” by August Wilson. I don’t think it’s the masterpiece many claim, but it’s well-constructed with good dialogue and some powerfully written characters. But I was wrong to like it. Why?

Well, according to Mr. Wright, it was not the “steppin’-fetchin'” dialogue that was the problem (the black folks in the play spoke like, you know, poor Southern black folks), but that the characters did not act like “any black people he knew”. Well, I dunno. Their actions and motivations seemed to be consistent and logical to me. It’s fiction. Isn’t that what we should be looking for?

Truthfully – and Wright didn’t say this, I hasten to add, and certainly would deny it – my impression is that the real issue is that it talked about racism against blacks. Which was a real and horrible thing. And that meant, in this play, in this context, white folks were not portrayed sympathetically. A lot of people, I guess, are tired of that nowadays, and I get that – but that play is still a quality piece of work, well-written and with legitimately good points to make.

Liking “Fences” is normally the politically correct thing to do. But not in the circles I frequent. In fact, where I normally read and comment, it is actually politically incorrect for me to like “Fences” or “Silence of the Lambs” (bizarrely enough, “Rain Man”, of all things, was on Mr. Wright’s Hollywood shit list, for reasons I still don’t understand).

I don’t mean to pick on Mr. Wright here; in fact, consider this something of a compliment to him, in a way. I also read and comment at Vox Day a lot, and I wouldn’t dream of saying this stuff there, because I know I would get abuse heaped on me. While Mr. Wright reacts strongly, it’s probably not as strongly as Vox would react, and his commenters are much more civil. And he hasn’t yet banned me.

Further up and further in, however, we get to things like the monarchy discussion.

Criticizing pick-up artist Roosh is another one. In most places, it would be the politically correct thing to criticize Roosh. But on the blogs I frequent, if I point out that Roosh actually says and does very little we should be condoning, I get trashed. Why? Because SJW’s don’t like Roosh, which is somehow supposed to automatically make him “our side”. Thus, where I write and read, it is politically incorrect to criticize Roosh.

And let’s not even talk about criticizing either the American government (as in, our system of government) or, worse, the dropping of the atomic bombs. What are you, some kind of commie?

And believe me, this is undoubtedly political correctness. It’s why I sometimes hesitate before, on another blog, saying I like something. For example, I enjoyed reading Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis”. But what if I say it? Will I be roundly mocked or attacked? Probably. What if – Heaven forbid! – I end up liking a book written by John Scalzi? Or if I don’t hate the new Muslim Ms. Marvel comic (I’ve read worse)?

I’m not even really criticizing all of this, by the way. I’m just pointing out, for all of our “side’s” talk about opposing political correctness and SJW’s, there is ALWAYS going to be an Overton Window. We just need to make it sure it lines up with the right things – and maybe not focus so much on attacking people who simply disagree with you.

And as a last note – No, I am not saying I’m definitely any better on this point. But it’s a general musing all the same.

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15 Responses to Things I’m Not Supposed to Like

  1. GJ says:

    We just need to make it sure it lines up with the right things – and maybe not focus so much on attacking people who simply disagree with you.

    Attacking people who disagree is precisely one of the most important and effective ways to make sure the Overton Window lines up with the ‘right things’.

    • Point conceded. But at the very least we should all drop the pretense that we’re not doing that. Conservatives are doing it. Leftists are doing it. Libertarians are doing it. And that’s okay, really, because we HAVE to do it. We all need to get off our high horses, though.

      • GJ says:

        I agree that liberals who embrace Freedom in the forms of ‘free speech’ and ‘free thought’ i.e, an intolerant Tolerance, need to quit it.

      • GJ says:

        We all need to get off our high horses, though.
        But you liberals won’t, being completely conditioned to enact over and over the basic Narrative of the righteous oppressed Ubermensch against the tyrannical Untermensch.

        Once the centrality of the Narrative is realised, many other things fall into place: why the phenomenon of ‘We righteously rebel – in thought, word, and deed – against the evil fascistic thought/action police’ is ubiquitous, that white knights are not in generally primarily trying to get sex but reenacting a variation of knights in shining armour riding to the rescue of the oppressed (c.f. the War of Northern Aggression), that the atomic bombings are so bitterly defended and condemned because they are an archetypal Final Solution, and so forth.

  2. Chad says:

    The point of the window, if fulfilling its function to give us a view of God on earth in terms of various subjects, is to direct souls to that end. To be an immediate reaction to the average person in the average situation within social situations that is the equivalent of “Here there be dragons (sin, temptations, and the devil).

    To that end I would agree with Mr Wright on some of your taste. You like dark stories that have a propensity to draw ones soul closer to darkness by the mere viewing/reading of them. You rationalize this as viewing a good story, which they are, without question whether a good story and a story that is good for you are the same thing (they’re not).

    Apply this to the other topics. It is good to have a government, and to be subject to the authority God placed over you, does not dictate that our government is good. Roosh may be good at being a man (debatable), but standing up to sjws is certainly good, but that does not mean that he is a good man nor that he is standing up for good things.

    The overton window, at the places you mention, is concerned with various things it declares good, and is an indiscriminate prostitute when it comes to determining morals. Rarely is there self reflection beyond “this works” or “I have a preference/belief in this”.

    • You rationalize this as viewing a good story, which they are, without question whether a good story and a story that is good for you are the same thing (they’re not).

      True enough; but in fairness to me, that’s not so much a trend as an outlier for me. Give me Marvel optimism over DC blah any day. And, while I liked “Jessica Jones” for what it was, give me “Daredevil”.

      This is why, however, I’m such a big Flannery O’Connor fan.

      But it’s true that I have something of a darkness in me, to a certain extent. This partially explains why I’m drawn to characters like Daredevil and White’s Lancelot.

      And lastly – all of what you’re saying is true. The larger point here is that we all need to admit it. This isn’t about, and never was about, being more free to speak our minds, for the simple reason that it can’t be about that. This is about making our minds line up with the good, true, and beautiful.

      THAT is the problem with society, more than attacks on freedom of speech.

      Zippy’s got a good post up on it now.

    • By the way: Over time – and being part of the superversive movement – I have indeed become more sympathetic to Mr. Wright’s point of view (though I still think he was right to apologize to me).

  3. I watch the cartoon Archer and consider it a moral work in that it concerns itself with portraying the consequences of degeneracy and immorality even though this affects the humor value. I’m just using your blawg to confess to something a reactionary housewife is very much not supposed to like.

  4. Craig N. says:

    As a note on “Fences,” the oddest thing about that exchange was that Wright thought it was obvious that the play was written to be read and not to be performed. There *are* plays like that, but “Fences” is not one of them: everything in Wilson’s Century Cycle is meant to be staged and I have personally seen most of them performed (though not “Fences”, actually).

    Fans of John C. Wright aren’t supposed to like _Ancillary Justice_ either, but I’m one of the two people who’s praised it in his comments boxes and — to be fair to him and his readers — got treated politely: John has usually been clear about restricting his criticisms to the unfortunate things its fans have said and not to the book itself (since he hasn’t read it).

    • I think Mr. Wright’s problem with “Fences” is that he has an open contempt for arguments over race in general, having, as he said, many black friends and seeing the damage pitting the races against each other has done to the country. So he looks at “Fences” as contributing to the problem.

      I obviously disagree, but that does make his reaction seem more plausible, to me at least.

      • Craig N. says:

        You’re probably right. Heck, he may be right, too; although Wilson’s plays have more to them than black solidarity against whites, that certainly is an element.

      • Well, that is an element, but it SHOULD be. The South used to be really, really bad, and I don’t think we should just stop talking about it.

        But now I’m back to square one,

  5. Scholar-at-Arms says:

    Good post, but “political correctness” is a bad term for what you’re describing. That’s a Maoist term brought to the West by admirers and emulators of his. I call it “tribal loyalties” in homage to Scott Alexander’s brilliant essay on ingroups & outgroups.

    slatestarcodex.com/2014/09/30/i-can-tolerate-anything-except-the-outgroup/

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