Jussie Smollett, MSM vs. Dissident Right, and the Children of WrathJohn Derbyshire • February 22, 2019
The Jussie Smollett story has finally attained the point of total Narrative Collapse: The Chicago cops have charged Mr. Smollett with filing a false police report. That’s a felony that could carry jail time. Jussie Smollett is out free on ten thousand dollars cash bail.
What. A. Surprise.
Among the many, many things illustrated by the Jussie Smollett case is this one:
- If you want a clear picture of what’s happening in our society, you should ignore the Main Stream news outlets and go to Dissident Right websites
…if you can find one that hasn’t been de-platformed, de-funded, de-Twittered, de-YouTubed, de-PayPal-ed, de-Facebooked, and so on.
While MSM journalists on six- and seven-digit salaries were gasping, swooning, and clutching their pearls, giving unqualified credence to Smollett’s story, we Deplorable bigots out here on the un-Respectable Right were calling hoax.
VDARE.com’s Nicholas Stix—who, by the way, should you get the chance to meet him in one of our clandestine gatherings down in the catacombs, is a first-class journalist who would have been a household name back in the days when mainstream journalism meant something more than just parroting the CultMarx narrative—Nicholas Stix called hoax on January 29th, the very day it was first reported.
This one is so absurd-sounding … that I’m wondering if it might not be true.
As Steve went on to point out, Smollett’s tale apparently didn’t sound at all absurd to Bigfoot media commentators and Democratic Presidential candidates. They swallowed it whole.
In my chosen lifetime mission as Sailer’s Bulldog, I took a similar line in the February 1st Radio Derb:
I’ll allow … that it might have happened, probability in the range two to five percent.
Steve and I were too cautious and Nicholas Stix’s journalistic instincts were correct: This was an obvious hoax from the start.
Cautious as Steve and I were, though, with our credence down at that two-to-five-percent level, we at least weren’t all-in gullible, like the fools who populate our Big Media outlets and political campaigns.
For them it’s Narrative, Narrative, Narrative. Facts, probabilities, and precedents [The list of bogus ‘hate crimes’ in Trump era is long, by Tamar Lapin, NYPost, February 21, 2019] count for nothing.
This is our society: an Empire Of Lies.
As far as my reading on the Jussie Smollett story has gone, I seem to be the only commentator striving to find some connection between Jussie Smollett and his only famous namesake, the 18th-century Scottish novelist Tobias Smollett, who got a mention in that same February 1st Radio Derb.
There are some mildly coincidental connections here, of the kind that would have pleased the late Arthur Koestler, a great believer in “synchronicity”.
Thus subsequently I noted the passing of British movie actor Albert Finney.
What’s the connection? Well, Finney starred in the 1963 movie Tom Jones, which was based on a novel by Henry Fielding, a coeval of Tobias Smollett. And no, “coeval” does not mean a person one has done evil things with. It means a person of the same age.
For bookish young Brits of my generation—I was a freshman college undergraduate when the movie came out—Albert Finney as Tom Jones was a huge hit. It got us all reading the original novel; and then, having sampled mid-18th-century picaresque fiction, we went looking for more, and encountered Tobias Smollett.
I personally didn’t get very far along that road. I have a dim memory of reading Roderick Random and thinking it not as good as Fielding. Sir Paul Harvey’s Oxford Companion to English Literature, my edition 1937, says that the story of Roderick Random is “told with infinite vigor and vividness,” although Sir Paul later tells us that “much of the story is repulsive.” I remember the vigor and vividness, but I don’t recall being repelled.
These vague recollections got me wondering if Tobias Smollett had anything to say that is relevant to the Jussie Smollett case. Having neither the time nor the inclination to read through the novelist’s entire oeuvre, I pulled down my Oxford Dictionary of Quotations—the good old 1955 edition, not the crappy recent one.
Poor old Smollett gets only four quotes in the Oxford book, and only one of them is relevant—though I must say, it strikes me as relevant at a pretty high level.
This is from Smollett’s 1760 novel The Adventures of Sir Launcelot Greaves:
“I think for my part one half of the nation is mad—and the other not very sound.”
find myself thinking that a lot.
The Oxford book having left me dissatisfied I turned to Benham’s Book of Quotations, my edition 1924. This gives Smollett much more space: thirty-three quotations. I note the following with some degree of relevance.
“The blast that blows loudest is soon overblown. “
That’s like “The higher you go, the harder you fall.” But that in fact does not necessarily apply if you belong to a Protected Class. Al Sharpton signed on to a hoax every bit as egregious as Smollett’s; though to be fair he didn’t initiate the hoax. Rev’m Al ended up with his own TV show, an any-time pass to the Obama White House, and a national podium from which to abuse VDARE.com Editor Peter Brimelow. Jussie Smollett belongs to two Protected Classes, so there’s a fighting chance he’ll be Vice President in the Kamala Harris administration.
“What though success will not attend on all?”
“Who bravely dares, must sometimes risk a fall.”
I’m not sure that the word “brave” can properly be attached to Jussie’s stunt. But when you consider the really brave things that cops, soldiers, and many ordinary citizens do every day; but it was bold, I guess, if not precisely brave.
“What foreign arms could never quell
By civil rage and rancor fell.”
There’s a possible epitaph for the U.S.A.
“Some folks are wise, and some are otherwise.”
Very 18th-century, but no less true for that.
“By this time the Demon of Discord, with her sooty wings, had breathed her influence upon our counsels.”
That’s very good. “The Demon of Discord, with her sooty wings”—needs, as emcees say, no introduction in today’s America.
“The genteel comedy of the polite world.”
That phrase “the polite world” could usefully be revived to cover the world of Politically Correct Main Stream Media commentary and carefully orthodox politicians. The word “comedy” doesn’t quite fit, though…except that, on a standard typewriter keyboard, the “v” is right next to the “c”; so as Aldous Huxley noted, a slip of the fingers when typing the word “comedy” gets you “vomedy.”
Now that fits.
“True patriotism is of no party.”
Another possible epitaph.
A few random afterthoughts on the Jussie Smollett case:
What’s with “Jussie”? The name, I mean. “Jussie”? I never heard of a Jussie before. Fortunately a kind listener looked it up for me. It is of course a diminutive for Justin, which name derives from the Latin adjective iustus, which means “just, equitable, fair.”
This listener—who will permit me to identify him only as “a corporate lawyer hiding from Political Correctness—ruminating away in his safe space there, riffed on that at some length, making a connection with the Latin phrase, which he thinks he may have heard from me, fiat iustitia, ruat caelum—”let justice be done, even if the sky falls”:
To combine the two as Mr. Smollett contemplates his reckoning (or what should be his reckoning): Fiat iustitia, ruat Iustus.
[I guess my listener’s idea there is “let justice be done even if Jussie falls.”
Continuing from his email:
Using the diminutive: Fiat iustitia, ruat Iustulus. Or maybe you prefer the insincere superlative: Fiat iustitia, ruat Iustissimus.
Hmmm, I think we have a confusion of nouns, proper nouns, and adjectives there … but I like the spirit of the thing.
And I’d forgotten that Latin grammar includes a figure called the Insincere Superlative—very handy, that.
My listener follows up with a joke that I like even more:
I come at the story from my own settled perspective: as a skirmish in the Cold Civil War between two big groups of white people who can’t stand the sight of each other, with blacks pulled in as tokens and auxiliaries.
Have you ever shared a beer with some friend or relative who’s involved in a marital dispute, at loggerheads with the spouse over something or other? You’re listening along sympathetically when there comes the point where he says something like “Y’know, it wasn’t really about what it was about.”
That’s the way to see these periodic eruptions of outrage. From the Cold Civil War perspective, they are skirmishes between two huge groups of white people who hate each other. The two groups here are:
- the media, academic, political, and corporate establishment, who cannot forget nor forgive the outrage and humiliation they suffered in November 2016; and
- two, the sixty-three million Americans who inflicted that humiliation on them.
Jussie Smollett? As Bob Dylan used to sing, albeit without this context in mind: only a pawn in their game.
Sorry: My thoughts keep reverting to Tobias Smollett:
What foreign arms could never quell
By civil rage and rancor fell.
Well, this was our latest little episode of “civil rage and rancor”—the latest skirmish in our Cold Civil War.
As Ulster’s late Reverend Ian Paisley replied when an English Member of Parliament tried to calm him down in mid-rant by saying: “Come, come, Mr. Paisley. Are we not all the children of God?”
No, Sir. We are the children of wrath.
John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjectsfor all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him.) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He has had two books published by VDARE.com com: FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT(also available in Kindle) and FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT II: ESSAYS 2013.
(Republished from VDare by permission of author or representative)