Monday, August 07, 2017

Ta-Nehisi Coates and the anti-art, anti-intellectual fundamentalism of Social Justice Warriors

Social Justice Warriors mean well. But their methods to achieve social justice are contrary to actual justice.

One of the methods used by Social Justice Warriors is to prevent others from speaking, and from producing art,  even if the speech and the art are only theoretical. 

Social Justice Warriors don't want to be accused of censorship no matter how censorious they are and so Coates has to jump through some hoops in order to try to defend against what he is attempting to do: shut down a TV show based on what Coates guesses it might be like, per his piece in The Atlantic

First Coates admits that it's a good idea to reserve judgment until you actually see a thing. 

But then he explains why this must be an exception:
But HBO does not actually want the public to reserve judgment so much as it wants the public to make a positive judgment.
But of course promoting its shows is what any production company does. So why should this be an exception?

Then Coates argues that because others have made pro-Confederate art (Birth of a Nation included) nobody can be trusted.

Then he pointlessly quibbles on terminology - the promotional text is "what if the South had won the Civil War"? Everybody knows this means the Confederate army. 

Then Coates says it's not the same as with The Man in the High Castle which is about what if the Nazis had won. Coates says it's a bad comparison because the Nazis are more thoroughly reviled than the Confederacy.

But this is a matter of degree. It's certainly true that the Confederacy has been given far too much respect for an organization that committed treason in defense of human bondage. But the Confederacy did lose. And furthermore, the reason that Nazi Germany committed atrocities was primarily due to anti-Semitism - and anti-Semitism still exists.

And Coates ignores "A Handmaid's Tale" which posits religious zealots controlling women's bodies. And we still have that going on today. Obviously not as much as the dystopia presented in Handmaid. But again this is a matter of degree - African Americans are still the victims of systemic racism but things have gotten better since they were slaves. 

But I don't remember anybody making a big stink about "A Handmaid's Tale" on the grounds that patriarchy has not been completely obliterated.

Then Coates goes on to say that even though the show is probably anti-racist, it's not good enough because, since there is still systemic racism there's no point in asking what would have happened if the Confederacy won.

He then admits the show has two black writers but suggests that black writers would not ever want to write a show with such a premise on their own.

As always, Social Justice Warriors presume to speak for all non-whites.

Coates then complains that the idea of the show is not original. Which begs the question, so why is he making such a big deal out of it?

I knew the idea is not original because I remember seeing the "mockumentary" CSA thirteen years ago. 

Although maybe it's just as well Social Justice Warriors don't know about CSA - since they are all utterly irony deficient they will probably think that CSA is pro-Confederacy.