DAVE CHAPPELLE AND HERBERT MARCUSE

DAVE CHAPPELLE AND HERBERT MARCUSE

This is a piece that we have known for some time that we would eventually have to write but which we have been putting off for a variety of reasons.  Most especially, we know that this story – or at least our take on it – contains the potential to be told poorly or to be told well but misinterpreted and thus to be offensive.  Therefore, we will do our very best to choose our words deliberately.  Please, however, keep in mind that the commentary and especially the criticism below are directed at the political, social, and intellectual operators in the tale, not at any country-class individuals.  Indeed, any such individuals are, from our perspective, the primary victims in this macabre narrative, people whose lives and loves have been manipulated specifically for the accumulation and application of ruling-class power.

And so, with that said…

Unless you happen to live in a cave, you likely know that two of the biggest social and political news stories of the last week have dealt directly with questions of transsexuality.  One story details the complaints of trans “activists” who believe that they and their compatriots are not adequately protected by American institutions from hate.  The other deals with what many observers see as the destructive consequences of actions that seek to protect trans individuals through political rather than practical and compassionate means.

The first, as you may have guessed is the story of Dave Chappelle the black and Muslim standup comedian who has been accused – again – of being “transphobic” and hateful.  Hollywood critic Christian Toto describes the Chappelle story and its twists and turns as follows:

Dave Chapelle’s Netflix special, “The Closer,” can still be seen on the streaming platform.
For now.

Whether it stays or goes it is almost beside the point. Cancel Culture has another victory, and everyone watching this slugfest knows it.

Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos responded swiftly after the far Left raged against “The Closer,” saying Chappelle had once again told the wrong jokes. His material on the trans community, nuanced barbs ranging from cutting to heartfelt, could cause real-world violence, they cried.

Yes, the same community lodged the same complaints two years ago over Chappelle’s “Sticks & Stones” special. Cancel Culture has grown in strength and ferocity since then, and its adherents know it.

Sarandos stood up for his artist … initially….

Except for the activist Left, and the mainstream media which supports it, wouldn’t let the matter go. Story after story, all framed to force Netflix to capitulate, flooded the web. Anyone who spoke out against Chappelle’s special, including “comic” Hannah Gadsby, got favorable coverage.

We even heard the list of “demands” from the activist Left, the same kind of rules colleges face when they anger the woke mob. Do what we say, or else.

So, of course, Sarandos finally backtracked on his initial stance. He gave a new interview to Variety in which he served up the three-word phrase the woke mob demanded.

“I screwed up.”


The second story, believe it or not, is even more depressing, more upsetting, and more…infuriating:

The superintendent of Loudoun County Public Schools sent a brief, confidential email to school board members on May 28 — the same day a female student at Stone Bridge High School said she was sexually assaulted in a bathroom.

In an email provided to WTOP by the school system, Superintendent Scott Ziegler alerted the board that the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office was investigating the incident but provided few details.

“The purpose of this email is to provide you with information regarding an incident that occurred at Stone Bridge HS. This afternoon a female student alleged that a male student sexually assaulted her in the restroom. The LCSO is investigating the matter,” Ziegler wrote….

Ziegler also explained why he answered “no” to a school board member’s question about whether he was aware of sexual assaults in school bathrooms. Ziegler said he wrongly interpreted the question as incidents involving transgender and gender-fluid students, since questions moment earlier had been about the county’s transgender policy.

Ziegler expressed regret “that my comments were misleading and I apologize for the distress that error caused families.”

Ziegler is lying.  The victim’s father has stated that the boy who assaulted his daughter was wearing a skirt and was in the girls’ restroom, presumably taking advantage of the county’s transgender policies to gain access to vulnerable girls in a semi-private setting.  Therefore, contrary to Ziegler’s dodge, the assault is directly related to the county’s policies, as is the school board’s reluctance to address the matter.  The father – and his countless supporters – contend that the politics of transgenderism caused the county school board to behave recklessly by giving biological males access to girls' restrooms and to behave deceptively by covering up the assault for fear of appearing to have made a mistake.

Now, to be clear, we think the details of both these stories matter a great deal.  We don’t mean to diminish either one by glossing over the particulars.  Nevertheless, what matters most here, we think, is the broader trend these two stories represent, namely the American (and Western, more generally) obsession with gender and sexuality.

This obsession is of both recent and longstanding vintage.  For roughly the last three-quarters of a century, American intellectuals and activists have been fixated on sex, sexuality, and sexual expression and have been resolute in their determination to define society and its inhabitants in sexual terms.  Their preoccupation with gender and with its supposed fluidity is one of the consequences of their sexual obsession and a reflection of their single-mindedness and desperate dedication.

In order to understand what we mean here, one must keep in mind several details about the cultural evolution of the West since the end of World War I.  Because I cover the details in The Dictatorship of Woke Capital and because we have discussed them as well in these pages, I will try to be brief today.

In the aftermath of World War I, faced with the disappointment that the workers of the world fought that war against one another and did not unite, as their foundational theory had promised they would, the continental European Marxists concluded that the hegemonic, Christian culture of the West had created a false consciousness in the masses.  Therefore, the solution to their problems and the abatement of their disappointment should, they determined, be found in undermining that hegemonic culture.  In order to facilitate their revolution, they would first have to break the false consciousness by taking over the institutions of the transmission of culture and using them to awaken the masses to their true interests and true nature.

Among the more important but least discussed of these institutions slated by the post-World War I Marxists for destruction was the traditional family.  Among the means by which the family was determined to be vulnerable was through the obliteration of traditional restraints on sexual behavior.  And among the heralds of the Marxist utopia that would be enabled by the destruction of the family through the embrace of sexual liberation was the Frankfurt School’s Herbert Marcuse, the pop-philosopher of the American New Left.  The cultural polymath Roger Kimball (our publisher, not coincidentally) described Marcuse sexual fixations thusly:

Herbert Marcuse, Norman O. Brown, Wilhelm Reich and a thousand lesser gurus foretold the sensual paradise awaiting those who were bold enough to dispense with the repressive trappings of bourgeois morality. For example, in Eros and Civilization(1959)--a book that became a bible of the counterculture--Marcuse spins a fairy tale about the fate of man in industrial society. Like Brown, he conjures up the image of a “non-repressive reality principle” in which “the body in its entirety would become . . . an instrument of pleasure.” What this really amounts to is a form of infantilization. Marcuse speaks glowingly of “a resurgence of pregenital polymorphous sexuality” that “protests against the repressive order of procreative sexuality.” He recommends returning to a state of “primary narcissism” in which one will find “the redemption of pleasure, the halt of time, the absorption of death; silence, sleep, night, paradise--the Nirvana principle not as death but as life.” In other words, he looks forward to a community of solipsists.

Marcuse is explicit about the social implications of his experiment in narcissism. “This change in the value and scope of libidinal relations,” he writes, “would lead to a disintegration of the institutions in which the private interpersonal relations have been organized, particularly the monogamic and patriarchal family.”


Long story short (if that’s possible any longer), the cultural Left embraced Marcuse’s advocacy of polymorphous sexual perversity both in practice and in political positioning.  In the latter case, the cultural Left determined that it could alter the relationships in society and destroy the existing cultural order by championing, as a matter of policy, whatever seemed sexually discomfiting to most Americans.  Or to put it more bluntly, the post-sexual-revolution American Left believed that it could, as Marcuse foretold, achieve political dominance in large part by embracing what it considered sexually perverse.

Among other things, early attempts to find the sexual limits of the culture included the practice of “free love,” acceptance of birth control, advocacy of abortion, and support for pornography.  These perversions, however, seemed inadequate and so the Left went further in its explicitly political embrace of unconventional sexuality.

Now, here’s where we want to tread lightly.  For a long time, the cultural Left believed that the ultimate sexual perversity that it could embrace and use to undercut traditional values and institutions was homosexuality.  Note here that the determination that homosexuality could be politically divisive and politically profitable came initially FROM THE LEFT.  Of course, for a long time, the cultural Right agreed with the Left’s determination on homosexuality and protested the political empowerment of the so-called “gay agenda.”

In time, two developments altered this calculation.  First, it became more and more evident, to the point of undeniability, that homosexuality is not a perversion at all but a natural phenomenon.  Moreover, it became more and more evident that this natural phenomenon, while definitionally non-procreative, was nevertheless not intrinsically hostile to the “monogamic and patriarchal family.”  Much to the Left’s dismay, it turned out that gay men and women are no different than straight men and women in their desire for family and stability.

The second development – which was entirely unexpected by the cultural Left and thus entirely damaging to their sexual agenda – was that the overwhelming majority of Americans turned out to be sympathetic to gay men and women and not to be hostile at all to their contentment and normalcy.  Contrary to the Left’s expectations, once they understood the facts, Americans accepted homosexuality as a natural phenomenon and refused to let the Left use gay men and women as a political cudgel.

In turn, this sent the cultural Left on a desperate search for other sexual outliers it could exploit for political purposes.  It settled on transsexuals, but even then, was thwarted by the American people’s kindness of spirit.  Historical transsexuality, a vanishingly rare occurrence, bothered almost no one – given its practical invisibility.

As a result, the cultural ruling class tried again, this time using another of its captured institutions, the educational establishment, to foster both false (and documentedly hysterical) identification with transsexuality and a radical expansion of the possible categories of the “queer” phenomenon.  Suddenly terms like polyamorous, demisexual, pansexual, and skoliosexual were everywhere, and the embrace of their associated identities was encouraged and defended by the educational establishment and enforced as qualities of the human experience.

Note, this is not to say that the individuals thusly categorized do not experience alienation or dysphoria.  They almost certainly do.  In the past, however, these experiences would have been categorized as “adolescent confusion” or “growing up,” while today they are specifically categorized as sexual identities by the political, cultural, and educational establishments for the express purpose of advancing an agenda.  This is a case of the ruling class fostering sexual identities that it can classify as “perverse” by traditional standards and then manipulating them to accumulate and exercise power in the name of protecting these perversities from the cruelty of the traditionalist, patriarchal, oppressive cultural hegemony.

The whole mess is so transparent, so exploitive and ugly, and yet, thus far, so effective.  The bottom line is that Marcuse was wrong and right at the same time.  He – and the rest of his Marxist brethren – were wrong about the nature of man and the inherent compassion in traditional Western culture.  He was right, however, in his expectation that sexuality could be manipulated to achieve power and, in turn, to crush one’s enemies.  And that, for the most part, is what the “trans” obsession is all about, crushing one’s enemies.

The American spirit is and always has been kind and inclusive, at least in theory if not always in practice.  The cultural Left is exploiting that spirit today and exploiting countless thousands of people, mostly children and young adults, in the pursuit of power.

That’s why Dave Chappelle is a bad guy and you should just shut up and let your daughter be raped in the name of “fairness.”

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