Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Defining America

 

Well, since you asked, no.

Shame, that’s the word that comes to mind. It’s possible she’s proud of the people who burned down the neighborhoods because they’re taking direct action, forcing change, or just cutting right to the chase – and by “chase,” I don’t mean running after store owners and hitting them in the head with a crowbar to ensure compliance in the redistribution of his property. 

But the looters and rioters and agent provocateurs, the nihilists, the louts and losers whose hearts and minds are numb to anything but the big boom, the hard jolt — that’s the cohort that some want to define America. After all, those pictures of people posing with heroic defiance as a building goes up in flames — why, it’s iconic! It sums up completely the American glorification of violence!

Eh.

Let this define America:

That’s maybe a 100th of what was delivered this morning at one of the food and staples drop-off centers that have sprung up around Minneapolis. It was massive — and this was the scene at noon. Wife and Daughter and Rotaria, our Spanish exchange student, went to deliver some goods this morning, and the line to contribute stretched for blocks and blocks. Swarms of volunteers moving the food from the boulevard to the truck; hundreds of people coming on food with bags. The grocery stores in our area have been cleaned out of food to donate — all the staples purchased and bagged for drop-off. 

It was exhausting, but they came back renewed and happy. “What you have been seeing the last few nights,” I said to Rotaria, “that is not who Minnesotans are.”

“I know,” she said. “This is America.”

Sappy and simplistic, yes, but I’ll take it. That makes me feel proud.

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  1. cdor Member
    cdor Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Beautiful James. You made me tear up. Just like I teared up yesterday when I saw this:

     

    • #1
    • May 31, 2020, at 11:45 AM PDT
    • 17 likes
  2. GrannyDude Member

    Agree.

    I wonder if what she meant was that she feels proud to see that Americans feel sufficiently safe from a violent government response to get out there and…do whatever?

    That’s the only thing I can see to be proud of here—American government (federal, state, local) don’t just massacre protesters wholesale. Seems a low bar to clear, really. And if it was my family, home or business that was being trashed, I think I’d be prouder if my life and property was being defended vigorously by my government.

     

     

    • #2
    • May 31, 2020, at 11:48 AM PDT
    • 21 likes
  3. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    What a pathetic and disappointing tweet from someone who ought to know better. Perhaps Ms. Berlinski has been too long marinating in French intellectual elitism that also excuses the horrors and violence of the French Revolution. I’m not sure how else to explain this ridiculous remark.

    • #3
    • May 31, 2020, at 11:49 AM PDT
    • 28 likes
  4. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Claire has lived too long overseas and has lost the thread of America, even if she was tweeting sarcastically. She should not be trusted to speak authoritatively as an American anymore. 

    Thanks for the reminder of American greatness, James. We needed that, as I’m sure you did too.

    • #4
    • May 31, 2020, at 11:50 AM PDT
    • 30 likes
  5. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    cdor (View Comment):
    You made me tear up. Just like I teared up yesterday when I saw this:

    #MeToo

    (just trying to reclaim it for something good and worthwhile).

    • #5
    • May 31, 2020, at 11:59 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  6. Henry Racette Contributor

    God yes.

    • #6
    • May 31, 2020, at 12:07 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  7. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Claire has lived too long overseas and has lost the thread of America, even if she was tweeting sarcastically. She should not be trusted to speak authoritatively as an American anymore.

    Thanks for the reminder of American greatness, James. We needed that, as I’m sure you did too.

    More than Lileks’ observations and evidence, The Americans for whom Claire apparently has dismissive contempt have staged the March for Life annually, have rolled though capitals and protected funerals with massive formations of motorcycles, have staged rallies against both parties’ massive overreach, all without violence and always leaving the place they assembled cleaner than when they arrived. That is who Claire especially slanders.

    • #7
    • May 31, 2020, at 12:11 PM PDT
    • 31 likes
  8. EODmom Coolidge

    GrannyDude (View Comment):

    Agree.

    I wonder if what she meant was that she feels proud to see that Americans feel sufficiently safe from a violent government response to get out there and…do whatever?

    That’s the only thing I can see to be proud of here—American government (federal, state, local) don’t just massacre protesters wholesale. Seems a low bar to clear, really. And if it was my family, home or business that was being trashed, I think I’d be prouder if my life and property was being defended vigorously by my government.

    i can not imagine what would enable and support Berlinski’s comment. The are so many rebuttals – @cliffordbrown, @westernchauvinist, @jameslileks and @cdor – but suffice for me that her remark is repugnant. I reject it. 

     

     

     

    • #8
    • May 31, 2020, at 12:15 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  9. Al Sparks Thatcher

    Riots are not uniquely American, which the tweet seems to be implying. But also, looking at Power Line, where two contributors live in the Minneapolis-St Paul area as well as James, I don’t get the impression that their neighborhoods are getting attacked. So as usual, the rioters are burning the downtown’s commercial district and their own neighborhoods.

    And for what? The perception, not the reality, that the cops are killing them in disproportionate numbers. But as usual, they are simply killing and looting their own neighborhoods.

    What this means from history – Detroit, Harlem, Watts – is that the middle class will move, leaving the rioters to deal with the aftermath.

    But I mentioned that this is not uniquely American. Look at the 2005 Paris riots by Muslims. They too burned their own neighborhoods, and didn’t even bother to loot the tourist section of Paris. Tourism was down during that time, but of American tourists that were still there — they couldn’t tell anything was going on unless they read the news. They only saw some smoke in the distance.

    • #9
    • May 31, 2020, at 12:17 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  10. cdor Member
    cdor Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    It was fun, back in the youth of this website adventure, to be able to converse with people like Claire and Mollie on a regular basis. They both really interacted with us members. As opposed to Mollie, whose bonafides were unquestionable, Claire always seemed a bit tenuous as a conservative spokesperson. However, like Bill Kristol, amongst numerous others…Max Boot… the veil was dropped entirely after Trump was nominated. Claire announced for Hillary almost immediately. It seems that once the neo takes over from the con, their leftist hearts reign supreme.

    • #10
    • May 31, 2020, at 12:17 PM PDT
    • 20 likes
  11. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    JamesL,

    You know that I like Dr. Berlinski. However, she has continued down a road where somehow Trump’s tweets are some terrible crime and nothing else matters. She is forever watchful on the horizon of some imagined authoritarianism. Yet, the dangers of the left she seems oblivious to. This is a riot generated by Soros funded organizations that care neither for America nor the Black community. Those of us who were around for the rioting in the 60s, know that when the exciting rioting and looting is over, the black community will be in even deeper trouble than it was before. What poor people need most is their community. Rioting destroys the community. It destroys hope.

    It is amazing that Claire thinks that she must keep her eye on Trump lest he becomes too powerful. Meanwhile, she doesn’t notice China’s imprisonment of nearly 3 million members of an ethnic minority in concentration camps, the abandonment of China’s sworn commitment to the Hong Kong agreement, its territorial aggression against Taiwan, India, South Korea, Australia, and Japan, its weaponization of the internet into a means of totalitarian control, its neo-colonialism in Africa, or its weaponization of epidemiology to cripple the rest of the world. None of this seems to interest her. Another cheap sophomoric shot at Trump is all that is important.

    For a brilliant and talented person, she seems to be wasting herself on trivial pursuits. Too bad.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #11
    • May 31, 2020, at 12:18 PM PDT
    • 18 likes
  12. Franz Drumlin Member

    Am I alone in wanting a little more context to Claire Berlinski’s remark? I have been a big fan of hers in the past and hope she’s given a bit more space to explain herself. Another example of why Twitter is perhaps the stupidest means of communication we humans have ever devised for ourselves.

    • #12
    • May 31, 2020, at 12:23 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  13. Al Sparks Thatcher

    By the way, Claire Berlinsky, whose tweet James references, lives in Paris. She may have lived there during the riots I referenced.

    As for her shy pride, I’ll point out that she hasn’t lived in this country for probably decades.

    Whatever her reasons, I’m suspicious that she maintains her U.S. passport for convenience, if she indeed does still have one.

    • #13
    • May 31, 2020, at 12:24 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  14. Hoyacon Member

    This strikes me as failed tongue-in-cheek, and I never considered subtle humor to be Ms. Berlinski’s strong suit.

    • #14
    • May 31, 2020, at 1:19 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  15. Matt Bartle Member
    Matt Bartle Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    That was such a bizarre thing to say. Makes me angry just reading it.

    I gave up on Claire years ago when she went full into McCarthyism, accusing all sorts of people associated with Trump of being in cahoots with the Russians.

    • #15
    • May 31, 2020, at 1:25 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  16. Henry Racette Contributor

    As I read Berlinski’s comment I thought of Carl Sandburg’s Chicago, a poem I particularly love for its evocation of something raucous and vital and defiant, yet ultimately clawing for the light. I see nothing positive in the looting and destruction going on today. It isn’t the messy chaotic bit of a glorious striving. It’s just rage and opportunism.

    • #16
    • May 31, 2020, at 1:27 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  17. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    She is a collusion truther. Much like someone else we all know.

    • #17
    • May 31, 2020, at 2:53 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  18. Manny Member

    Thank God i kept reading and found you said “no.” From your first few sentences I thought you were serious. This is an utter disgrace.

    EDIT: Wait a second. Claire really did say that? That was a Claire tweet? I guess Claire has been in Paris too long where this is common and acceptable. No it is a disgrace here in America.

    • #18
    • May 31, 2020, at 3:11 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  19. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    This strikes me as failed tongue-in-cheek, and I never considered subtle humor to be Ms. Berlinski’s strong suit.

    That’s my assumption. Claire never struck me as being excited about violence and mayhem.

    • #19
    • May 31, 2020, at 3:15 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  20. Manny Member

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    This strikes me as failed tongue-in-cheek, and I never considered subtle humor to be Ms. Berlinski’s strong suit.

    That’s my assumption. Claire never struck me as being excited about violence and mayhem.

    Well, let’s hope so.

    • #20
    • May 31, 2020, at 3:17 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  21. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    As I read Berlinski’s comment I thought of Carl Sandburg’s Chicago, a poem I particularly love for its evocation of something raucous and vital and defiant, yet ultimately clawing for the light. I see nothing positive in the looting and destruction going on today. It isn’t the messy chaotic bit of a glorious striving. It’s just rage and opportunism.

    Henry,

    Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.
    Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on job, here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the little soft cities;
    Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning as a savage pitted against the wilderness,
    Bareheaded,
    Shoveling,
    Wrecking,
    Planning,
    Building, breaking, rebuilding,
    Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with white teeth,
    Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young man laughs,
    Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has never lost a battle,
    Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse, and under his ribs the heart of the people,
    Laughing!
    Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of Youth, half-naked, sweating, proud to be Hog Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation.

    Strange but isn’t it Trump himself that exemplifies this raw ethic of human survival and success. We don’t like him that much but at the end of the day, he gives us that feeling that we can take on the worst and survive. We need that feeling. Anyone who thinks they don’t has been spoiled beyond redemption. Human Life just isn’t that easy.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #21
    • May 31, 2020, at 3:30 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  22. ToryWarWriter Thatcher

    I just checked out her latest letter. Where she continues in the belief that millions of people would have died had we not shut down despite all evidence to the contrary that this virus turned out not to be that bad.

    I asked her early on in her rants on Trump’s response, that if he had shut down the country in January, that wouldnt she be among the first to declare him some sort of tyrant derailing the impeachment. She said she would cover that in her next letter, where upon she just hit a bunch of data on epidemics and didnt talk about the political consequences of such a drastic early move.

    At one point when the stories came out about the guy who wrote the now debunked Imperial College Model, violating quarantine, that obviously the papers were making up stories to discredit him.

    She does publish people she disagrees with including the colonel she debated on Trumps response.

    But long story short, I will start reading it again, when its more coherent.

    • #22
    • May 31, 2020, at 4:32 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  23. Phil Turmel Coolidge

    ToryWarWriter (View Comment):
    I just checked out her latest letter.

    Yeah, I’ve kept her newsletter for the past few years hoping that she’d come out of her blind funk. Futilely. This last letter finally pushed me to unsubscribe. The tweet doesn’t surprise me.

    • #23
    • May 31, 2020, at 5:31 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  24. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks

    Someone in the Twitter thread said she was being darkly humorous, or words to that effect. Perhaps. Maybe even likely. I just have exactly one f to give for japery on this matter; that f was a micron wide the first night of the destruction and has been substantially diminished in width since then.

    We’ve been warned by neighborhood watch groups about two young men dressed in black walking around looking at things with unusual interest, whatever that means, and that there might be looking for what’s useful for burning. There’s a guy sitting in a car two blocks up the street who’s been there for five hours. I’m sitting here in the back yard with a fire extinguisher and a hammer, and so you can keep your wry hot jokey takes to yourself.

    • #24
    • May 31, 2020, at 6:40 PM PDT
    • 31 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  25. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Someone in the Twitter thread said she was being darkly humorous, or words to that effect. Perhaps. Maybe even likely. I just have exactly one f to give for japery on this matter; that f was a micron wide the first night of the destruction and has been substantially diminished in width since then.

    We’ve been warned by neighborhood watch groups about two young men dressed in black walking around looking at things with unusual interest, whatever that means, and that there might be looking for what’s useful for burning. There’s a guy sitting in a car two blocks up the street who’s been there for five hours. I’m sitting here in the back yard with a fire extinguisher and a hammer, and so you can keep your wry hot jokey takes to yourself.

    Someone spotted this on Twitter. Be alert, James. May St. Michael protect you and your family.

    • #25
    • May 31, 2020, at 6:50 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  26. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks

    Brian Watt (View Comment):
    Someone spotted this on Twitter. Be alert, James. May St. Michael protect you and your family.

    Makes sense; why wouldn’t they? Curious about the brazenness of it, though. Verified account? Chinese mischief? 

    • #26
    • May 31, 2020, at 7:02 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  27. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Brian Watt (View Comment):
    Someone spotted this on Twitter. Be alert, James. May St. Michael protect you and your family.

    Makes sense; why wouldn’t they? Curious about the brazenness of it, though. Verified account? Chinese mischief?

    Who can say for sure? A similar and even more vile threat about invading white neighborhoods and assassinating families on Facebook has appeared under a BLM – Fort Bend header. Both of these could be empty threats. 

    • #27
    • May 31, 2020, at 7:06 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  28. Henry Racette Contributor

    Pump shotguns are practical, inexpensive, legal in most places, and just generally nice to have.

    • #28
    • May 31, 2020, at 7:50 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  29. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    It’s a shame that Claire is no longer an American.

    • #29
    • May 31, 2020, at 8:00 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  30. Goldwaterwoman Thatcher

    James Lileks (View Comment):
    There’s a guy sitting in a car two blocks up the street who’s been there for five hours. I’m sitting here in the back yard with a fire extinguisher and a hammer, and so you can keep your wry hot jokey takes to yourself.

    Stay safe James.

    • #30
    • May 31, 2020, at 10:23 PM PDT
    • 3 likes