How does a society fall apart? How can a small band of revolutionaries create a whole project of terror – as happened in France and Russia?
The answer provided by the greatest of all novelists, Fyodor Dostoevsky, is that there is nothing more powerful in any given nation than sets of ideas which can take possession, like demons, of a few committed men and women, and ready them to die for a cause.
His 1872 novel, ‘Demons’, is set in a small town just outside St Petersburg, in which a small band of nihilistic terrorists attempt to spark a nationwide revolt against the Tsar, the idea of a Russian nation, and the Russian Orthodox Church.
The activists longing for liberation from the confines of gender and biology are more truly serving the forces of consumerism.
At Wits University recently, the faculty made the decision to remove all gender pronouns from correspondence.
A few years ago, psychologist and author, Jordan Peterson, shot to fame when he declared on YouTube his absolute opposition to students being allowed to force their professors to use their own personalised pronouns.
Something is afoot in the western world with regards to gender and sex, and I fear not enough people truly realise what is at stake.
Whatever one’s beliefs regarding the current gender controversy, it is undeniable that the propagation of the human species depends on the sexual transaction between male and female – nor is it deniable that it is a biological fact that every human is born with a sexual identity.
Recently, I was told that as a white, straight, English-speaking, able-bodied, Christian man (it gets worse – I am Catholic to boot), my type has had its day, and now it is time to cede power to the ‘Other’. To our PC society, this may sound like a good plan, but in truth, it is a pre-cursor to social disaster.
The notion of white privilege is predicated on the idea that society is ultimately entirely about power, and class or demographic conflict, in which there can be only winners and losers. And that’s no way to build a society.
So let me be as clear as I can be – this type of identity politics will destroy our civilization. We need to cut it out before it’s too late.
“We have to stop expecting to be offended…”
Recently, I have been listening to some talks by Cassie Jaye, a feminist documentary-maker who decided to expose the ‘darkness’ of the men’s rights movements in 2013.
After a few years, she ended up making the opposite movie to the one she intended. ‘Red Pill’ demonstrated the story rather of a feminist ending up agreeing with the objects of her attack. See the trailer here.
In this emotive TED talk, she describes how and why she no longer calls herself a feminist – yet neither is she a men’s rights activist. She’s chosen a different path.
South Africa is a fatherless nation.
As we try to patch together our economy and infrastructure, there is a far more basic fabric that lies in both serious disrepair and unconscionable neglect – the fabric of fatherhood, evolved over millennia of culture and religion which binds men and their offspring together.
Or – how to be the Lion King, the Top Gun, or the rightful ruler of Denmark.
The animated classic, The Lion King, the Reagan-era air force blockbuster, Top Gun, and the essential Shakespearean tragedy, Hamlet, are all about the same thing: how do you make atonement for the absence of your father?
It’s a strange theme. Yet it is an idea so ubiquitous – from the Bible, to the Odyssey and the Aeneid, to the TV show Lost – that clearly it carries some residual vitality which requires our attention.
We all live on the road between two cities – the city of God and the city of Man – between reality and a hopeful vision.
There’s a reason the Dark Knight trilogy is the only set of superhero films worth watching – they are more than comics on film – they contain and allude to a real literary mythology.
The best of them from a pure storytelling point of view, is the final film, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’. What happens during times of revolution? How can true peace be achieved?
The answer is – by means of a hero.
And to tell the story, to recount a Gotham completely destroyed, the screenwriter Jonathan Nolan turned to the fourth book I think we need to read to understand the modern world, Charles Dickens’ ‘A Tale of Two Cities’:
‘Black Panther’ and the strange reason why young people are literally burning western civilization down.
Have you heard of the film ‘Black Panther’?
It recently became the most successful movie ever in the US domestic market. Apparently it’s not bad – probably much better than other serious money-spinners like ‘Avatar’ and any Star Wars film.
I haven’t seen it. I haven’t watched a single Marvel superhero film. Not my thing. But what has fascinated me, is the political outpouring of love for the film. The fact that the film celebrates a black hero (with a militant, more real-life Black Panther-esque villain to oppose him) has made it what young people call ‘woke’ – which is just a trendy way of saying ‘politically correct’. Finally, black kids can have a real hero on the silver screen.
But what struck me in the midst of all the hype is the fact that by no stretch of the imagination is this the first major film with a black lead. And it is thus a real mystery why everybody is pretending that it is.