- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wages of guilt

“According to Pascal Bruckner, we in the west suffer from neurotic guilt, a condition imposed upon us by the high priests of the left. This secular clerisy are heirs to the Christian tradition of original sin, which universalized guilt by claiming that humans are fallen and must redeem themselves. Nietzsche denounced Christian guilt as a psychic evil which forces man’s will to power in on himself. Pascal Bruckner is a latter-day Nietzschean who gives no quarter when it comes to excoriating our new moral elite. …

“Beneath Bruckner’s eloquence is a serious message: we remain prisoners of a white guilt whose victim is its supposed beneficiary. Our guilt, he writes, is actually a means for us to retain our superiority over the non-white world, our masochism a form of sadism. After all, if everything is the fault of the west then the power to change the world lies squarely in the hands of westerners.

“This belief demeans Frantz Fanon’s ‘wretched of the earth’ - the non-western poor who we are supposed to redeem. Worse than this, it excuses the barbarism of tinpot dictators from Mao to Mugabe, who are considered irresponsible children, their crimes the result of colonialism, racism or capitalist exploitation.”

- Eric Kaufmann, writing on “Self-serving white guilt” in the July 21 issue of Prospect

Male fantasy

“Yes, movies like ‘The Expendables’ can be silly. But then, on that narrow basis of criticism, so are classic action extravaganzas like ‘The Iliad,’ rife as they are with ultra-bloody scenes featuring warriors cutting down ten or twenty enemies at a clip. So are Westerns with their ritualized duels and codes of honor and amazing pistoleering, all of it at odds with much of real history. Whenever you veer too far towards the realm of the impossible, it’s going to strike many as silly.

“But it’s thoughtless misandry to dismiss these myths as unimportant or, even worse, as a form of violent pornography that young boys need protection from. The inherently brutal nature of males isn’t a design flaw but a feature, and cultures need fierce heroes to guide boys toward ideals of masculine and martial perfection. Wiser minds adhere to the dictum expressed so memorably in John Ford’s ‘The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance’: ‘When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.’ We mere mortals emulate these legends imperfectly, but our country and families are the better for our having tucked away some of those savage lessons to be called upon when needed.”

- Leo Grin, writing on “Bring on ‘The Expendables: I Was a Teenage ‘Expendable’,” on Aug. 11 at Big Hollywood

Still boldly going

“Paramount is talking about having a sequel to that recent film. I have to refer to it as the recent film, because there is no number or subtitle to it. It’s just simply ‘Star Trek.’ J.J. (Abrams) really reenergized the ‘Star Trek’ franchise with it - and with the next film, I think the fan following will continue to be active. In previous years I had predicted ‘Star Trek’ eventually fading away and that proved not to be true. I’ve given up making that prediction and I’m just going to go with the flow. …

“I’m always identified as the actor who played Hikaru Sulu even if I’m doing something totally different, or when I’m on the media talking about marriage equality. That’s my calling card, it seems. So I’m resigned to the fact that my tombstone probably is going to read ‘Here lies Hikaru Sulu’ in great big bold letters, and in smaller letters, ‘AKA George Takei.’ “

- George Takei, in “Is Star Trek’ fandom over?” on Aug. 4 in an interview with Salon

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