Progressivism is an ideology built entirely on narratives.
Rarely do the narratives coincide with reality, and wherever the two contradict, the narrative wins. Every time. If progressives decided to construct a narrative that the moon is made of rock candy, it would be immediately required that every discussion about the moon be centered on reaffirming this fiction. If an astronaut visited the moon then came home and reported that, in fact, the moon does not consist of delicious sugary confections, he would be labeled a moonophobe or a moonist, and calls would ring out for his termination and possible execution. Once the narrative is established, everything surrounding it must serve the sole purpose of reinforcing it. Nothing else matters to progressives. Only the narrative.
I think if more people understood the progressive focus on narrative, and learned to be suspicious of stories that so strangely and simplistically fit right into them, we would be living in a much more rational country. We wouldn’t have, for example, a Black Lives Matter movement born in a thoroughly discredited lie made up on the spot by a criminal thug. Without that movement, it’s likely that Ferguson and Baltimore never would have been torched, and the cops who’ve since been killed by the BLM race pimps would still be alive. False narratives aren’t just annoying; they’re dangerous. They whip people into frenzies based on assumptions and distortions, rendering it almost impossible to calm the foaming mob once the falsehoods have taken root.
Speaking of frenzies, you’ve no doubt heard about Ahmed Mohemed. Poor Ahmed, a high school student in Texas, became the latest cause du jour after he got in trouble for bringing a clock to school. It was a crude homemade contraption constructed out of wires and circuitry in a small briefcase-like box with a digital display on the front. He showed it to his engineering teacher who told him not to show it to anyone else because someone might see a box full of wires and get the wrong idea. Schools tend to be sensitive about things that look like they could explode.
People have since had a lot of fun pretending that Ahmed’s “invention” (he didn’t actually invent the clock, contrary to reports) was just like any old analog device you’d find hanging in someone’s kitchen. This isn’t true. In fact, it did look similar to the trigger for a bomb, and if you tried to bring that thing into any other government building, you wouldn’t make it through the entrance.
Eventually, his clock came to the attention of another teacher — maybe accidentally, or maybe because Ahmed was trying to cause trouble — and that teacher reported it to the school resource officer. Ahmed was “interrogated” (they took him to a room in the school and asked him some questions) about the device by several cops, and then cuffed. Later, he was released without charges. If Ahmed were named Anthony or Andy or Arthur or Alex or even Anna, that would be the end of this story, and none of us ever would have heard about it. But because Ahmed is a brown-skinned Muslim with a Muslim-sounding name, progressives detected a racial angle to exploit.
Hours later, this minor and irrelevant local incident at some public school in Irving became a national sensation. Muslim activists seized on the story. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (the ones who pull Al Sharpton duties for aggrieved Muslims) wasted no time in declaring definitively that none of this would have happened if he were white. Liberals across the nation joined in, shouting about “Islamophobia” and right wing bigotry and yadda yadda. Social media was on fire with outrage and cries of anti-Muslim racism. The Earth shattering news was reported on every news channel. Within a day, he was giving “exclusive” interviews with MSNBC. He was a topic in the Republican debate, sandwiched in between lesser matters like the Iran Nuclear deal and the economy. Major newspapers were publishing editorials from alleged adults claiming it’s now unsafe for minority children to “try to be like Steve Jobs” (these hand wringers evidently don’t realize that the engineering field is lousy with minorities and very few of them have ever been arrested for building electronic devices).
The President — who still hasn’t had time to watch the Planned Parenthood videos that are currently the focus of a congressional investigation — spoke out on the travesty and invited Ahmed to be an honored guest at the White House. Naturally, Hillary Clinton got in on the action. Meanwhile, a mentally unstable congressman started parading around Capitol Hill with his alarm clock to show “solidarity.” Prayer vigils were conducted for Ahmed and his clock.
Soon, Ahmed and his father, a well known Muslim activist and former Sudanese politician, were holding press conferences, and not hesitating for even a moment to link the incident to “Islamophobia” and racism. Astrophysicists invited him to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The U.S. Space and Rocket Center announced they were designing a scholarship for him. Twitter offered him an internship. Facebook and Google asked him to come by their respective headquarters after he finishes at the White House, MIT, Space Camp, and Twitter. The Nobel Committee awarded him the Peace Prize and the Prize in Physics. A group of progressives in California exalted him as a deity and began sacrificing their first born to him. Space aliens from a galaxy 100 trillion miles away abducted him to learn his technological secrets.
It’s all just absolute madness. Christians in Muslims countries are routinely stabbed, beheaded, shot, drowned, beaten, tortured, or cooked alive, and not a single one of those incidents has ever engendered this kind of response. Muslims slaughter Christians en masse and there is silence, but one Muslim kid gets asked a few questions about a clock and we all have to spend the next 96 hours of our lives seeking atonement for the sins of White America.
The kid’s activist father cried to the cameras that his son was put through “hell,” and that “he was hurt and was tortured and arrested and mistreated.” Tortured. TORTURED. He sat in an air conditioned room for an hour. Get a grip, pops. Torture is what Muslims are doing to people overseas. What happened to Ahmed was more of an annoyance. A profitable annoyance, it turns out. Indeed, the very fact that his dad is going so absurdly and eagerly and automatically overboard makes me suspect all the more that the whole thing was a set up. At this point at least, a set up is far more likely than the idea that the kid was targeted purely for his skin color and religion.
But most will assume the latter because in our culture the narrative is what matters, and this is a perfect opportunity to reinforce the fantasy that the United States is some sort of bastion of “Islamophobic” hatred. Not many chances arise on that front — America is enormously tolerant of the Muslim faith — so of course they took advantage of this to the utmost.
There are many facets to any campaign to sell a liberal narrative, but these days, probably the most important are the internet memes. On social media, I’ve seen a few particular memes repeated over and over again, like this one:
— Elle J Kaye (@spokenELLE) September 18, 2015
“If they thought it was a bomb, why didn’t they evacuate the school???!??!?!$!??!” Well, because that wasn’t the issue. The cops knew it wasn’t a real explosive, but they were trying to discern whether Ahmed was attempting to cause alarm or play some sort of joke. That would be a serious and illegal offense, and it’s not outside of the realm of possibility for a kid to do that sort of thing. When I went to school, we had bomb threats every once in a while, usually called in by some idiot who thought it’d be funny.
The cops say Ahmed was not forthright with them and that’s why this thing went on for as long as it did. They say he was being passive aggressive and refusing to answer their questions about why he brought the device to school. Ahmed retorts that all the adults are Muslim hating liars and he is pure and innocent. Choose to believe whoever you want, but either way, the fact that they didn’t evacuate means nothing. That’s not the point. But the point doesn’t matter in Narrative Land.
My other favorite slogan/meme is this:
Ahmed a 14yo builds a clock ,He's terrorist and gets arrested. Dylan Roof killed 9 people but its Ok he's… [pic] — https://t.co/ydbQghdI20
— Lea (@Aleaulfis) September 17, 2015
“Ahmed makes a clock and he’s a terrorist, but Dylan Roof shot black people and it’s OK!!!!!!1!!!!1!!” Actually, nobody ever called Ahmed a terrorist and nobody ever said it was OK for Dylann Roof to shoot black people. That’s just silliness soaked in nonsense dipped in horse manure and coated in intellectual dishonesty, but hey, it helps the narrative.
Notably, as all of this goes on, the other side of the story isn’t taken into account or remotely considered at all. On that end, the school and the mayor of the town have defended the handling of the situation. They say everyone followed protocols and did what they were supposed to do. It becomes a bit of a he said/he said scenario; a teenager and his activist family on one side, and administrators and police officers just trying to do their jobs on the other. Personally — no offense to Ahmed — but I’m not sure he should be the one who gets the benefit of the doubt here.
After all, Ahmed claims that when he came into the room for “interrogation,” one of the cops, much like a villain from a movie, “reclined in his chair,” took one look at his brown skin, and said, “Yup, that’s who I thought it was.” This fantastic allegation has been reported in headlines as absolute fact:
Maybe the cop said that. Or maybe this kid is, frankly, full of it. Clearly, someone in this situation is not telling the whole truth, and it seems likely that it might be the kid who sounds like he’s repeating lines fed to him by his grievance-monger parents. Many people seem to have no problem always assuming the adults and the law enforcement officials are lying and the kids are always paragons of honesty, but as a former 14-year-old, I can report that such assumptions are ridiculous.
The cops say Ahmed wouldn’t answer the questions and was being elusive and defiant. Ahmed says he was an innocent snowflake throughout the ordeal, bullied by cops who wore their anti-Arab prejudices on their sleeves. Maybe the truth is somewhere in the middle of the two extremes. Or maybe the police and the administrators decided to launch some bizarre crusade against clock-building Muslims. Or maybe Ahmed made a unwise decision to bring the clock to school, then when confronted by concerned authority figures became defiant and uncooperative, and later exaggerated certain elements of the story because it’s almost a 100 percent certainty that a child isn’t going to admit he was in the wrong when there’s 150 million people out there ready to hail him as a hero. Those are the three options here. Two of them seem reasonable, one seems a bit outlandish. But, sure, let’s believe the most outlandish one and dismiss out of hand all the others for no reason at all.
Certainly, if you immediately jump to the less likely conclusion — that this was an anti-Islam conspiracy and the 14-year-old boy who got in hot water at school isn’t at all embellishing the details — then it can only be because this conclusion fits a narrative. The narrative is the deciding factor, forever and always.
Indeed, no matter how you feel about the police response, consider that kids in public school are frequently suspended, expelled, and/or arrested for far more trivial matters. Kids of all races — black, white, brown — have landed in serious, sometimes legal, trouble for spraying perfume, chewing a Pop Tart into the shape of a gun, kissing another student, bringing a leaf to school, packing a butter knife in a lunch box, pointing a finger, wearing an American flag t-shirt, shooting Nerf guns, burping, doodling, drawing a picture of Jesus, etc. Just this week, 23 students in Virginia were suspended for wearing Confederate flag apparel.
All of these “offenses” are, in my view, far less serious than bringing something that resembles a suitcase bomb to school. And in all of these cases, kids were arrested or suspended without any worldwide outrage, or any invitations to the White House, or any job offers from Twitter, or any prayer vigils. Why?
The answer is narrative.
One affirms a racial narrative, the others do not. That’s why Obama reaches out to the kid with the clock that looks like an IED, but not the frat boys at the University of Virginia who were slandered all over the national media because of a feminist rape hoax. That’s why we still hear “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” shouted by fools, even though everyone knows Mike Brown said no such thing, as he was too busy trying to beat Officer Darren Wilson to death. That’s why the Matthew Shepard murder is still cited to prove anti-gay hatred in the United States, despite the fact that Shephard was actually an addict killed by another homosexual over a drug dispute.
The narrative is all the matters. Truth is utterly irrelevant in progressivism.
Ironically, the narrative destroys itself in this case. If America is really teeming with ingrained Islamophobia, we wouldn’t be making overnight celebrities of Muslim kids who get in trouble at school, while ignoring non-Muslim kids who’ve been in similar situations. It seems apparent, once again, that Victim Group Status is a huge plus in America, unlike in the Middle East, where being in a Victim Group means being marched into the desert and executed with dynamite.
There is no Islamophobia epidemic. There might be an Islamophoniness (or Islamophonia, if you like) problem, but that’s not part of the narrative.
And the narrative is all that matters.
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