I clicked on an article about the Yellow Vest movement, and it dawned on me that Google News had sent me outside the world of the Liberal Media. Oh, yeah. The American Spectator. I went to the home page and found irresistible clickbat: Yes, I am a white male. Deal with it. The author is Dov Fischer, who has a LONG bio at the end of the article, where he tried to include his whole resume from the last 25 years. Seriously, it just goes on and on like this:
Rabbi Dov Fischer, Esq., a high-stakes litigation attorney of more than twenty-five years and an adjunct professor of law of more than fifteen years, is rabbi of Young Israel of Orange County, California. His legal career has included serving as Chief Articles Editor of UCLA Law Review, clerking for the Hon. Danny J. Boggs in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and then litigating at three of America’s most prominent law firms: JonesDay, Akin Gump, and Baker & Hostetler. Through the years, he has practiced both in the United States federal courts and in the state courts on a broad range of case matters, gaining expertise in virtually every subject area of complex civil litigation including labor and employment law, securities litigation, federal government contracts litigation, bankruptcy law, ERISA law, Hague Service Convention and Hague Evidence Convention practice, professional malpractice law, entertainment litigation, federal and state fair-credit-reporting requirements, the filed-rate doctrine as it affects carriers on land and rails, insurance bad faith, cybersquatting, commercial lessors’ rights, international contracts, fair-housing litigation, the law of computer role-playing games, federal and state antitrust matters, director and officer liability, defamation and false-light litigation, unfair-business-practices law, and the fuller gamut of advanced torts and classic breach-of-contract case matters.
Something to prove. Status-obsessed. Got it.
He starts by spending three whole paragraphs just to complain that Stacey Abrams gave the Democrats’ response to the SOTU address (due to affirmative action, of course). Then he gets to the point:
Here is the thing: In our new racially divided intersectionalist society that Obama created, I now feel — more than ever — very, very White… and very, very male. Crazy Mazie Hirono wants men to “shut up”? The #MeToo crowd wants all women’s voices to be believed unquestioningly — except when such trust might take down Michael Avenatti or hand the Virginia governorship to a Republican? Well, my response to Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory and the whole bunch of “Women’s March” Jew-hating, Christian-hating, European-hating, man-hating bigots is this: I am a White male. Deal with it.
He’s not even wrong about hypocritical Democrats. What’s actually interesting is his newfound discovery of his identity as a white man. He never had to think about it before. He was just coasting in his whiteness before, content that someone else was keeping the women and minorities down. There was just Mankind, and he was part of it, and then there were the Others, who don’t count for much. This sacred state of affairs shows signs of instability. The white men are mobilizing and training their reserves, in preparation for the race war.
The heart of the article is a list, prefaced with:
Here is what my White Male privilege entails me to enjoy — and eat your hearts out:
The crudeness of the parody is part of the aesthetic. The First Lamentation:
I get up every morning, and I go to work. I work very hard. If I do my work well, the fruits of my labors result in great personal satisfaction, touch others’ lives, and provide me and those I love with a respectable living. If I fail, I am left without anything because, as part of my White Male privilege, I was socialized never — not under any circumstances — to accept food stamps, welfare, or any government assistance if I otherwise could work for income. In our White Male privileged universe, the women with whom we associate signal that a man on government assistance is not a worthy marriage partner. For White Male privilege to generate female interest, we need not be millionaires — though that never hurts — but we definitely at least must be hard-working, and we get extra points if we project resourcefulness. Privilege.
Of course the first fear is a loss of sexual access to the women.
He’s not describing the world as it is. He’s describing the American Dream. The white men have painted themselves into a corner by defining masculinity in this way and then favoring policies that make it ever less attainable. The working class gets immobilized with shame instead of angry at class oppression.
When my former wife and I ran into a financially challenging time early in our marriage — this was many, many moons ago — it emerged that one of the two of us would have to set aside personal career aspirations and dreams, maybe for the next few years, maybe for the rest of a lifetime. And, feminism or no feminism, egalitarianism or no egalitarianism, it emerged that the marital partner with White Male privilege is the one who has to give up everything to bring in more money because, egalitarianism and feminism notwithstanding, “it is the man’s job.” So I left the rabbinate and went to law school. Privilege.
Yes, privilege. It’s amazing that he seems serious. Woe betides him because he had to go with Plan B of a law career he’s very proud of. This would be like me complaining about my good tech job because I didn’t get to be a scientist after getting my PhD. Is he unhappy in his law career? Presumably, or it wouldn’t be part of his white man’s burden.
Years later, no one gave my kids any extra wink-wink when they applied for college admission. The University of California has no seats set aside for the children of White Male privilege. Neither do the Ivy League schools. Yes, they do set aside some “legacy” spots for the children of the George Bushes and the Kennedys to get in, but those seats come with expectations that major donations will follow. For regular White Male privilege stiffs like me, though, my kids need to score in the upper stratospheres of the admission exams, or they will need to readjust their dreams while others get admitted ahead of them with lower entrance exams, profoundly meager extracurricular records, and weaker math and verbal skills.
He’s quite possibly never witnessed how bad schools for poor people really are, so he doesn’t see how being a lawyer already gave his kids a leg up. Things like having staplers around the house and seeing Daddy fill out forms and having books in the house. He lives in a bubble, so schools for Those People don’t count within the realm of possibilities he’s considering. It’s unthinkable that his children would get an education like that. He’d never allow it.
The presumption that you’re less capable because you’re getting affirmative action money is annoying. I feel very lucky that scholarships and fellowships paid for my education, leaving me debt free. At the same time, I did all the same things the white kids do for scholarships, and did them well, better than most white people in fact. I graduated from community college and high school at the same time, with honors, while debating competitively at the state level, with good SAT/ACT scores. Note that debate, the extracurricular, costs money. It’s like Malcolm X said: “You know what they call a black man with a PhD? A nigger.”
With White Male privilege, I have to watch and hear my essence insulted every day by one of the two major political parties in this country. I am a really fair and enormously accepting guy, and I never would judge someone by race, by religion, by ethnicity, by gender preference. And yet the privileged White Male never knows when some sociopath may be lurking at the next Clintonian Basketful to point a finger and say “You voted for Trump — You are racist!” Or “You speak perfect English — You are ethno-nationalist.”“You quote great works of European literature — You are a First Worlder.” “You believe in the Bible — You are homophobic and not suited to be a judge in an American court.” “You speak of how your grandparents entered this country legally through the port of entry at Ellis Island — You are xenophobic.” “You tell people there is opportunity in America — You are Deplorable.”
Except it’s actually true that this guy is a bigot. Of course voting for Trump means you’re racist. That’s the point. Racism is more important than any other qualification.
On being a First Worlder and speaking English, Ralph Wiley said “Tolstoy is the Tolstoy of the Zulus. Unless you find a profit in fencing off universal properties of mankind into exclusive tribal ownership.”
Straw men are kinda boring.
With White Male privilege, I end up regularly sharing some of my money with others. I cannot get away merely with virtue-signaling by kneeling at the National Anthem and buying Nike sneakers or Gillette female razors — and then wallowing in cash that I do not share. Unlike the NBA and NFL Gazillionaires who get paid millions because they can throw a ball or dribble in public or knock someone down, and who devote their Benjamins to their own narcissistic self-indulgences, it has been socialized into White Males of privilege like me that we give generously to those who need, not leaving it to Government to spread crumbs for the needy with other people’s money.
Black athletes play this important symbolic role in the white mind. They represent all black people, because of course we’re all the same, and they’re paid to play games to entertain us instead of doing something serious and noble and conservative everyman-ish.
Of course he didn’t actually look up data on rates of charitable giving by race:
It’s almost like white people are niggardly!
Then he goes through some standard talking points: brave white men did all the Great Things in history. White people and colonized peoples also fought amongst themselves. Rich people of olden times didn’t have air conditioning like we have today.
I thought this was especially cringeworthy:
Perhaps the bravest and most heroic were America’s Japanese-American fighters who fought for a country that then was rounding up and interning their very families. But that, too, is what it means to be suffused with Male privilege.
I wonder if that example spoke to him because he’s in a similar position, as a Jewish guy carrying water for Donald Trump.
Then there’s this (appreciating women is exclusively something for white males):
Finally, being a White male means thanking G-d every day for a world balanced with females who bear so many of the awesome and enormous responsibilities — beginning with childbirth — that males biologically cannot do. It means understanding the Biblical advisory that it is not good for man to live on his own. We cannot do it without females. We cannot survive without females — not just in the biological and reproductive sense, but in the culture and civilization sense. When an all-male society is created, as during the Gold Rush and Wild West, history records that the society cannot function civilly long-term without women. There is something existential in the need each gender has for the other, and it goes beyond reproducing the species. In today’s world, where we have advanced to see women’s great academic and entrepreneurial heights of attainment, we marvel also at how women successfully defy all challenges to scale those plateaus even as they bear additional burdens that men often do not. And fair-minded women marvel at men who paradoxically do the same, only differently.
Compare that with this passage from Christopher Lasch’s The Culture of Narcissism, from 1979:
In the heat of the struggle to win the West, the American pioneer gave full vent to his rapacity and murderous cruelty, but he always envisioned the result–not without misgivings, expressed in a nostalgic cult of lost innocence–as a peaceful, respectable, churchgoing community safe for his women and children. He imagined that his offspring, raised under the morally refining influence of feminine “culture,” would grow up to be sober, law-abiding, domesticated American citizens, and the thought of the advantages they would inherit justified his toil and excused, he thought, his frequent lapses into brutality, sadism, and rape.
Today Americans are overcome not by the sense of endless possibility but by the banality of the social order they have erected against it…they feel themselves overwhelmed by an annihilating boredom like animals whose instincts have withered in captivity. A reversion to savagery threatens them so little that they long precisely for a more vigourous instinctual existence. People nowadays complain of an inability to feel…
Twentieth-century peoples have erected so many psychological barriers against strong emotion, and have invested those defenses with so much of the energy derived from forbidden impulse, that they can no longer even remember what it feels like to be inundated by desire. They tend, rather, to be consumed with rage, which derives from defenses against desire and gives rise in turn to new defenses against rage itself. Outwardly bland, submissive, and sociable, they seethe with an inner anger for which a dense, overpopulated, bureaucratic society can devise few legitimate outlets.
He pretty much says explicitly at the end that he wishes to promote racial division in order to prevent class division. Conservatism isn’t subtle.