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I think it became clear to me in my formative years, that beyond good writing and bad writing, there was a style of writing that was meant to obscure. As a fine arts and graphic design student in college, I would sometimes try to decipher the convoluted gibberish about Abstract Expressionism in pretentious magazines like ArtForum and eventually give up, concluding that, either there were human beings (who, for the most part, lived in New York) so vastly superior in intellect than I or that this was all just a load of crap.
The late, great Tom Wolfe wrote a book, The Painted Word, about the pseudo-intellectual poseurs of the New York art scene who pushed great loads of self-indulgent and plainly awful art down the throats of Americans who couldn’t make heads or tails of it and those museum curators and collectors eager to be relevant. As he put it:
There were brave and patriotic collectors who created a little flurry of activity on the Abstract Expressionist market in the late 1950s, but in general this type of painting was depreciating faster than a Pontiac Bonneville once it left the showroom. The resale market was a shambles. Without the museums to step in here and there, to buy in the name of history, Abstract Expressionism was becoming a real beached whale commercially. The deep-down mutter-to-myself truth was that the collectors, despite their fervent desire to be virtuous, had never been able to build up any gusto for Abstract Expressionism. Somehow that six-flight walk up the spiral staircase of Theory took the wind out of you.
In this time, amazing painters like Andrew Wyeth were dismissed and ridiculed while someone like Jackson Pollock who piddled paint on vast canvases was raised to godlike status.
Painting is a form of language. Some do it well and others piddle. Some paint to delve into the human psyche and explore nature, others just keep dumping buckets of paint on top of other layers of paint making an unholy mess. Language is the one tool that human beings have to help make sense of the world or as Jordan Peterson has related in his analysis of the Book of Genesis, the Logos (the Word) that brought order out of chaos. It’s what we use to understand the world around us in all of its mystery, strangeness, its beauty, love, or its horror and rampant monstrous evil.
There are those, of course, who don’t use language to enlighten. Like the pseudo-intelligentsia of the New York art world of the 1960s and ’70s, some use language to obscure and to obliterate in an effort to institute conformity to a specific ideology or worldview. In this effort the term, ‘painted word’ can be applied to political discourse with new definitions of once understood and agreed-upon words that now masquerade and sashay as something they are not, and often what they truly are is viler.
This can be done by dressing up a word with lipstick, rouge, eye-shadow and costume jewelry (not to ‘drag’ out the metaphor) by appending a word like ‘socialism’ with the word ‘democratic’ to make it somehow sound more alluring, sexy, and attractive even though any study of actual socialist regimes throughout 20th-century history will indicate immediately that they were anything but democratic. One could more aptly define ‘democratic socialism’ as property theft, slavery, and societal suicide-by-consensus.
Other words have been ascribed definitions opposite to their original meaning. Words still used by virtually everyone on both sides of the political spectrum like “liberal” or “progressive” when it’s clear there is nothing liberal or progressive in the liberalism and progressivism as espoused by those on the Left and, in fact, what lies behind these terms are Marxism, communism, socialism, totalitarianism, subjugation, and slavery. Thus, abortion, the deliberate termination of growing and viable human life is called a “reproductive” right when reproduction is the direct opposite aim of abortion. When was the last time you heard a news anchor challenge a pro-abortion advocate on the use of the term “reproductive” as it is used in “reproductive right,” in any interview?
There are those on the right of the political spectrum who accept the Leftist or ‘woke’ lexicon out of resignation or acquiescence, as they have done with “liberal” and “progressive.” The cowardice of news anchors and commentators who shrink from calling out a politician’s progressive policy ideas as Marxist or communist if they are, doesn’t help matters and only serves to prolong the obliteration of language and truth. Or to perhaps recklessly paraphrase Tom Wolfe, “Without those willing to step in here and there, to discredit the dishonesty of the Leftist lexicon, America will become the beached whale of a once free and prosperous republic.”
More often, it’s people in business who are ordered to help peddle the obliteration of language and continue the attacks on reality. Hence, we see an ever-expanding propaganda effort by companies like Audi, Gillette, Target, Blue Shield, various travel websites, Google, Apple, Twitter, and many others that spend precious marketing dollars pushing the feminization of men, Pride parade-sponsored floats, the notion that men can get pregnant and have babies, that young boys dressing as drag queens and posing with virtually naked transsexual men is something to be celebrated, and those behavioral choices once categorized as psychological disorders — without any apparent dissension in the corporate ranks.
Are there groups in these companies upset with the constant woke militancy of their executives and HR departments? Questioning or challenging LGBTQ rights, a woman’s right to choose, Climate Chaos, and any number of so-called “woke” initiatives by one’s company – even during non-work hours on social media platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn – can result in public shaming or immediate termination, so the woke propaganda is likely to continue. Diversity, as promoted by corporate HR departments, really only pertains to skin color or ethnic background. Diversity of thought is verboten and punishable. Ask James Damore.
Attacks on the meaning of words are ultimately attacks on reality and truth. If you believe that men can be women or that women can be men, then you are complicit in the obliteration of language and of truth. If enough people accept these lies as truth, chaos will follow.
Most, if not all of the Democrat politicians running for the presidency this election season – and there is a boatload — have also been cowed into conformity to the woke, so much so, that they’re afraid of leaving out any presumed historically-marginalized identity group to the point of abject lunacy in accepting notions that are not just delusional but outright lies. Thus, in an effort to one-up his competitors on the debate stage, Julian Castro declared (emphasis mine):
“I don’t believe only in reproductive freedom, I believe in reproductive justice,” said the former secretary of Housing and Urban Development. “What that means is just because a woman or, let’s also not forget, someone in the trans community — a trans female — is poor does not mean they should not have the ability to exercise that right to choose.”
To be clear, a trans female is a man, a biological male. A biological male cannot get pregnant. It follows then, that a biological male cannot have an abortion, unless he’s having an appendix aborted or aborting a kidney stone through his penis and pretending that it’s a human child — which may sound far-fetched and ridiculous today, but in a world where Leftists believe that human fetuses are parasites, may eventually be an accepted formulation.
Castro’s desperate idiocy takes the satire of Monty Python even further than they went in their film, The Life of Brian when the character of Stan, an anti-Roman, Jewish revolutionary (played by Eric Idle) wanted to be called Loretta and simply wanted to have babies. Castro, and the throngs of people in the debate forum audience who raucously applauded Castro’s blatant idiotic pandering, are openly declaring their willingness to accept and promulgate a lie about a universal human truth and that should set off alarm bells for any sane American.
Other than organized boycotts of companies that push this nonsense, that typically have sporadic success, there is still one place where someone who wants to voice his or her objection to this constant barrage of vile extremism without fear of, or actual, retribution — and that’s the ballot box — that is, to the degree, that elections can’t be stolen through schemes like vote harvesting and other more blatantly criminal methods.
The 2020 presidential election is destined to pit a rather boorish, endlessly boasting, self-absorbed billionaire-turned-politician against a career Democrat politician, who has never run a company and had to meet payroll or even comprehends what it means to ‘create’ wealth. It seems, after watching the first two Democrat debates, that the final nominee will be either compelled or even eager to appease the more extreme fringes of the American electorate who embrace and celebrate property theft through socialist policies, abortion even to the point of infanticide, the militant LGBTQ agenda, or accept the notion that the planet will come to a cataclysmic end in 12 years if Americans haven’t heeded the advice of young congresswoman of dubious learning — making it much easier for many Americans to pull the lever for Mr. Trump than they were in 2016 — because the alternative is utter insanity.