I’ve had a change of heart.
I still agree with my last post’s (complicated) assessment, being: the fact that the following sentence will never be uttered reveals why Mr. Chappelle is helping the trans community: “Mr. Chappelle—while thoroughly picking on the trans community—could not but help them—because he is black.” I believe this sentence will never be uttered by anyone of significance, as stated, because I believe the real conflict in our nation (and the world) is between “tranquility” and “morality”. So Mr. Chappelle, in not addressing the immorality of the trans community, is clearly on the “tranquility” side of the conflict—by default.
All that said, where I differ from my opining of a few days ago is that I implied that Mr. Chappelle’s status as a black comedian (which cannot be discussed) will protect him. I have changed my mind. Mr. Chappelle is toast.
So why the change of heart? New facts, or at least a forgotten perspective, have since been revealed to me by my recent reading.
As I think I’ve mentioned, I’m still working through the Great Books of the Western World, via the Great Ideas Program guided reading set. I’m in Montesquieu at the moment, still. (It’s a longer than normal selection.) And I came across this in last nights reading (The Spirit of Laws Book XII, Chap. 5 Of Certain Accusations that require particular Moderation and Prudence):
“The Emperor Theodorus Lascaris attributed his illness to witchcraft. Those who were accused of this crime had no other resource left but to handle a red-hot iron without being hurt. Thus among the Greeks, a person ought to have been a sorcerer to be able to clear himself of the imputation of witchcraft. Such was the excess of their stupidity that to the most dubious crime in the world they joined the most dubious proofs of innocence.”
Don’t mishear me. I’m not saying Mr. Chappelle is being accused of witchcraft. This is clearly no witch hunt. I would even hesitate to say it’s like a witch hunt. But maybe I could be pressed to admit similarities do exist. Instead, the point is that the trans community is out to get Mr. Chappelle and Netflix. It is also clear that the trans community is never going to be satisfied. Moreover, history is full of examples of humans never achieving satiation, no matter how many times they claim they could be. Taking this fact into account, the inevitable consequence is that the accusation will rue the day. Mr. Chappelle is toast. Fini. Finished. Dunsky. Netflix is likewise on the hurt train.
Netflix will likely recover after firing the boss, but we’re operating—not under a time of witch hunts, no—we’re operating within a time of the category that includes witch hunts and “cancel culture”, which Montesquieu rightly and timelessly labels “stupidity.”
To be clear, Mr. Chappelle was stupid, or put more nicely “unwise”, for electing to take on “tranquility” without arming himself with a shield of “morality”. You’ll see soon how his joke only helped the trans community.
All the while, “morality” and “tranquility” battle on. Whose side are you on? In either case, choose your weapons carefully.
As most of you know, I spent my twenties in the Air Force as a pilot. This means that all the things that folks generally do in their twenties, I did while a pilot in the Air Force. Before this, I was a very active little Bible thumper at church, and always working towards being an Eagle Scout at Boy Scouts. Then came college at a small private college, in a super small town whose only bar I never frequented. The picture I’m trying to paint is that I lived a life full of full disclosure. I could, did, and was encouraged to talk about life within all these groups. Real life, you know? Personal things didn’t stay personal. We all just lived together, good, bad, and ugly.
Due to the limited size of groups I was in within the elite pilot training program that is the Air Force’s SUPT, I never really gave much thought to the very different nature of social environment that I had then found myself in as a 23 year old. Put plainly, I hadn’t had my trust broken in life yet, and given the similarly small group size, I just assumed the Air Force would be no different.
Suffice it to say, I was wrong. And I got burned big time.
Time go’d on. Time go’d on.
I became known as a guy who wasn’t “one of the guys”. The fellas liked me and all, but they knew that I wouldn’t put up with much teasing (said I had “thin skin”) and they knew that I wouldn’t dish it out much either.
One day, a mentor figure saw my consternation (and I saw he saw) and so I finally asked him for help. He sat me down and answered my confusion by saying, “Pete. It just makes people more comfortable when they know that they can pick on you and that you’re willing to pick on them. Nobody means anything by it. But when you don’t join in, it feels off, and makes us nervous. You know we all really like you, right? We’re just picking on you a bit extra because we like your reaction so much. So if you want, feel free to give it back and then we’ll eventually get to a happy medium and all will be well.”
I was pretty sure then, and am more sure now, that this type of moment is rare. And so I considered it and then happily consented. And all was well.
The point of this trip down memory lane is to demonstrate that I know the concept that being picked on (a seemingly negative event) can actually be proof of a positive and healthy relationship. So, when Andrew Sullivan’s piece on Chappelle’s controversial joke landed, “Dave Chappelle Is Right, Isn’t He?”, I was intrigued and gave it a read.
In short, Mr. Sullivan claims that, much like my mentor, Mr. Chappelle, in making his joke, is doing the trans community a solid by picking on them. Mr. Sullivan argues that it’s good for the trans folk to be picked on, argues that it proves they’re approved.
Like my personal situation, I have to agree that Mr. Sullivan is right that Mr. Chappelle is doing the trans community a favor by directly, and with surgical precision, picking on them. (Make no mistake, Chappelle picks on the trans community.)
But I cannot agree that anything meaningful is taking place. The most compelling social/political problem in America and the West today (and given the hegemonic value of America—in the world today) is people valuing “social justice” and “equity” and “diversity” and “equality” and “inclusivity” above morality. It’s this replacement of core values that’s the problem, not one particular social group’s standing in society. Here’s how I know.
There is one little sentence that can be uttered which brings the whole house down, one little claim that shakes the foundation to the core. One minor comment that brings to the surface the true nature of the social/political problems our nation faces.
It’s arguable that Dave Chappelle is the greatest living comedian. It’s definitely true that he is on the leading edge—a bonafide influencer of the highest order—of Western Culture. But these two facts, powerful as they sound, don’t negate the claim I’m still preambling and which will not disappoint.
Ready? (I’m excited for you.)
“Dave Chappelle’s joke ultimately is not like my mentor’s advice, nor like Mr. Sullivan’s assessment, because Dave Chappelle is black.”
Of course he can safely say the joke. To pick on Mr. Chappelle will only earn you the label “racist”.
If you think Mr. Chappelle’s joke could do anything but help the trans community, that’s your mistake. A joke which hurts the trans community is like Muslim Imams performing wedding ceremonies for gays. It just ain’t happening. The only thing that Mr. Chappelle’s joke has influenced is the amount of confusion.
It’s not confusion we’re after, it’s alignment. It’s integrity.
My mentor helped me because he had spent years developing himself into someone all considered worthy from whom to seek social advice. So when I was stuck, I sought help, sought wisdom from him, regarding how to navigate a confusing social environment.
On the other hand, the trans community is not interested in social advice. They feign to seek social approval—and from a culture which has so far shown nothing short of total willingness to re-center the culture on “social/political tranquility” instead of “moral excellence”.
Does Mr. Sullivan have pithy distillation power on Mr. Chappelle’s inverse goal? Sure. Does Mr. Sullivan (and other erudite pop culture commenters) make the clever, pragmatic observation that he supposes he does? Nope.
Mr. Chappelle doesn’t get cancelled because he’s black.
Final proof: Anyone see Jerry Seinfeld addressing the trans community like Mr. Chappelle does? Anyone see Brad Pitt jumping on the Chappelle Show? Anyone see Leonardo Dicaprio or Christian Bale or George Clooney or Steven Spielberg or Craig, Daniel Craig signing a petition with Mr. Chappelle? No. No, we don’t. We do not see these demi-gods doing these things. And we won’t either. Why not? Because the real fight between social/political tranquility and moral excellence is ongoing and they’re hedging their bets.
If you think Mr. Chappelle’s joke is helping the trans community, you’re right.
Conversely, if you think the trans individuals need help, you’re right.
Two quick thoughts that make me smile:
Firstly, if you stop reading political columnists/pundits (as I recently have), flipping through and, subsequently past, even so-called news headlines is a breeze—as apparently there’s hardly any actual newsworthy events to report. And no news is good news.
Secondly, as a pilot I have to take flight physicals. These used to be a breeze mentally because I was a twenty year old in excellent shape. Now, double that age, the last few (still passing of course) have been mentally stressful because I’m not a twenty year old in excellent shape. To alleviate this, I’ve started a fitness routine to handle and control that stress. The motivational point is this: I am probably half way through this life and have never had to run for exercise, beyond a few tests for school and the Air Force. Never. Are you going to tell me that after 40 I will start running? After 41? How about after 50? Think I’m going to develop a habit of running after 50? No sir. Take that to its conclusion and that means that I will have made it through life on planet earth without running. That’s something to marvel at.
I am slowly working on the new novel, the one filled with all the sex and violence you can handle (and desire)–and probably more–but I haven’t been writing it that often.
And obviously I haven’t been blogging much.
And I still don’t have a post for you.
But I do finally have the desire to share this video of a speech I gave at one of my beloved toastmasters competitions back in 2012 and in doing so finally pull back the curtain on my never-requested-but-just-the-same-deliberately-hidden appearance. I don’t have the hair or beard these days, but yes, the rumors are true, I am still that good looking. 😉 (for the ladies.) (Fellas: sorry, but you shouldn’t need an emoticon to calm you down.)
Oh. And Happy Birthday…Djyaa-nit.
He was Top Cadet, Top Friend, Top Suburban Son, Top Forrest Boy, Top Gun, Top Bartender, Top Brother, Top Veteran, Top Car, Top Immigrant, Top Lawyer, Top Informant, Top Vampire, Top Spy, Top Spy 2, Top Spy 3, Top Spy 4, Top Spy with a Sense of Humor, Top Sports Agent, Top Freak, Top Motivational Speaker, Top Crazy Man, Top Future Cop, Top Samurai, Top Hit Man, Top Normal Guy, Top Politician, Top Director, Top Nazi Traitor, Top Rock Star, Top Ex-Cop, and most recently Top Astronaut. I can be talking about none other than the Top Actor of the World, Tom – T.C. to me – Cruise!
Just the facts: I saw Top Gun when I was 8 and went on to become a military pilot. My first anniversary out of the military occurred last year, and I figured it would be a good time to watch the movie again. It had been about 7 years since I last saw it. So much had happened in my time in the military that I was curious what I would think as I watched it again. You know what? As the movie ended, I felt like I was 8 again. I thought to myself, “Man, I can’t wait to grow-up so I can be a military pilot.” Then I realized, “Wait a minute, I’ve already done that!”
The moment that followed was singular. I realized that I don’t think I ever actually wanted to be a military pilot. I realized that all these years I actually wanted to be Tom Cruise. Or at least like him, Top Actor.
This thought terrified me. You see, recently I joined a Toastmasters public speaking club. Toastmasters is an organization that pushes people to follow their dreams. The club I am a part of is no different. Besides being overly encouraging, they are time keepers. If you tell them your goal, they will help keep you accountable. I knew that if I told any of them that I wanted to be Top Actor, they would literally start encouraging me to follow my dream to Hollywood.
Thus, I was faced with a dilemma. I joined Toastmasters to challenge myself. This was the perfect topic for a speech. However, there was no way I could share this dream of mine with this particular group of people.
Then it hit me! What if I just told them the truth?
Of all the people who make excuses for not following their dreams, I think I have the best excuse ever. I thought that maybe I could convince them that some people just shouldn’t follow their dreams. And I was one of those people.
Think about it. As a pilot, I spent 8 years perfecting my radio-call voice. You know what I’m talking about. The very monotone, betraying no emotion, professional way of speaking. Besides being monotone, a radio-call is also a strictly formatted four-part way of communicating. There is not much room for deviation from the monotone four-part format.
My thesis: I argue that even Tom Cruise himself couldn’t become Top Actor if, like me, he had to overcome 8 years of speaking in a radio-call voice and format.
And I can prove it. In order to do so, I need to take you through a few examples of how his movies would’ve sounded if he made them in a monotone, four-part radio call format.
To begin, allow me to take you back to the living room at the end of Top Sports Agent. In the movie he says, “…We live in a cynical world. A cynical world. And we work in a business of tough competitors. I love you. You… complete me.” To which Dorothy interrupts, “Shut up. (Sniff) Just shut up. You had me at hello.” Pretty powerful stuff, no? Well, let’s see what that would look like if a T.C. would’ve had my restrictions. Here goes.
*Pshh* Ahh Dorothy…This is Jerry…I’m standing in your living room and ahhh…We live in a cynical world. BREAK *Pshh* … *Pshh* …A cynical world. And we work in a business of tough competitors. BREAK *Pshh* … *Pshh* …Ahhh…I love you. You complete me. *Pshh*
*Pshh* Ahh Jerry…Dorothy here…Standing in the same room…Shut up. Just shut up. You had me at hello. *Pshh*
I mean come on! There is NO WAY anyone would have identified with those characters or that sentiment.
I can hear some of you already. You’re saying, “Hey, wait a minute. You picked an easy one, a chick flick. I bet some of his other movies would have sounded alright.” Okay, I’ll take that bet. And I’ll raise you. Let’s jump right to a military movie. Top Lawyer. You remember it. Lt. Caffy thundering away while leading Colonel Nathan R. Jessup expertly toward admitting he ordered the CODE RED. Let’s pick it up with Colonel Jessup. He asks, “You want answers?” Lt. Caffy replies, “I think I’m entitled them.” “Yawan’answers!” “I want the TRUTH!” “YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!..” And then the great speech about walls begins. Now, here’s how the scene would have played out if T.C. was a pilot.
*Pshh* Ahh Lt. Caffy…Colonel Jessup here…sitting in the witness stand…Do you want answers? *Pshh*
*Pshh* Ahh Colonel Jessup…Lt. Caffy speaking…I’m at your 11…I think I’m entitled them. *Pshh*
*Pshh* Ahh Lt. Caffy…Colonel Jessup again…still in the witness stand…Do you want answers? *Pshh*
*Pshh* Ahh Colonel Jessup…Lt. Caffy here…I’ve haven’t moved…I want the truth. *Pshh*
*Pshh* Ahh Lt. Caffy…Colonel Jessup here…once again from the witness stand…You can’t handle the truth. *Pshh*
See? No drama. It would have been annoying. No one would have told their friends to go see Top Lawyer.
At this point, I think I’ve done enough to prove I’m right; and I should not follow my dreams. In all fairness, though, we need to come full-circle. Some of you are thinking, “Well, he seems to have a good point. Maybe he couldn’t become Top Actor. …Except that Top Gun is the movie that really put T.C. on the map, and in it he made radio-calls. So, no, I won’t let him off the hook, his theory is destroyed by Top Gun.” I respond, “Is it?” Do you really believe that the radio calls are what made that movie? We all know what made that movie and transformed Tom Cruise from Top Forrest Boy into Top Actor. The bar scene. “You never close your eyes anymore when I kiss your li-i-ips.” Goose takes over, “There’s no tenderness like before in your feeengerrti-i-ips.” Back to TC, “You’re trying hard not to show it…” Entire bar. (It’s appropriate to join in wherever you are right now, too.) “BAYYY-BEE!” “But baby! Believe me, I knoooow i-it…” And on and on. A scene like that spawns a career. Here’s how it would look radio-call style.
*Pshh* Ahh Pretty blonde woman…Maverick here…at your six…you never close your eyes anymore… BREAK *Pshh* … *Pshh* …when I kiss your lips. *Pshh*
*Pshh* Ahh Blondie…Goose speaking…at your eleven…There’s no tenderness like before…BREAK *Pshh* … *Pshh* …In your fingertips. *Pshh*
*Pshh* Ahh Blonde woman… Maverick again…I’m the one at your 12 o’clock…You’re trying hard not to show it…BREAK *Pshh* … *Pshh* …baby. BREAK *Pshh* … *Pshh* …But baby, believe me I know it. *Pshh*
Whew! Need I say more? Need-I-Say-More? Terrible. I’m bored writing this. “Tom who?” That’s what you would say to me if he had made his movies the way I have had to speak for the last 8 years.
There you have it, proof positive that some people shouldn’t follow their dreams. I am one of those people. Are you? Are you you holding on to any dreams that need to be given up? I find my answers in the movies. Maybe you will to. It’s like in the movie Lion King when Rafiki tells adult Simba that to discover his destiny he needs to, “Look hahhhder.”