MCT: Monday, July 27, 2020

* * *

HOT INLAND TEMPERATURES will continue through Tuesday. Coastal areas will start off foggy with stubborn marine layer clouds giving way to afternoon sunshine in some areas. Isolated thunderstorms are possible across northeast Trinity and northeast Del Norte County late this afternoon. Somewhat cooler inland temperatures are expected Wednesday through Friday, with a deeper marine layer. (NWS)

THE DIFFERENCE between coastal and inland: yesterday's high temp in Yorkville was 99°; Fort Bragg was 63°.

* * *

MENDO COVID, JULY 26

* * *

DROPPING IN ON DROP-IN DONUTS

by Chris Calder

Heidi and Jeremy Wall (sister and brother) have broken the eerie COVID-19 silence in downtown Fort Bragg with the lively opening of Drop In Donut, a very bright and tidy hole-in-the-wall establishment on Redwood Ave., wedged between two of Fort Bragg's most historic houses of gaiety.

That would be “bars” usually — the Welcome Inn and the Golden West, the latter renowned as one of the oldest continuously operating bars on the West Coast. (COVID closure doesn’t count.)

The grand old establishments are shuttered these days. But something about Drop In Donut's festive donut flag, sign shaped like a donut, of course; and colorful social distancing insignia, spread an unusually joyful atmosphere along the old block these days.

The Wall siblings make Drop In Donut go. Heidi is the all around rainmaker, not her word, but she has used her years of experience and connections at local restaurants and the Farmers Market to power Drop In's launch.

Jeremy bakes all night, five nights a week, and so far watches his work vanish every day by noon.

Jeremy is an experienced pastry chef, but when asked if there is any unique quality he tries to give his donuts, he says no. They're traditional donuts made the traditional way, just with good, fresh ingredients, by someone who cares a lot about doing it well. The fillings, for instance, are made with fresh fruit, not pie filling, something most people have probably never tasted in a donut.

Drop In donuts are $2.50 each. Little Debbie no doubt will keep a part of the market. But Jeremy said the value is in the quality. Blocks-long lines and daily sellouts tend to support him. Little Debbie was unavailable for comment.

Heidi Wall said one heartening thing has been the support Drop In Donut has had from neighboring business people thrilled to see young entrpreneurs taking the bold leap these days in old Fort Bragg.

"Everybody has been amazing," she said, with well-wishers offering help in many forms, and of course buying donuts and coffee.

Jeremy said his past work has taken him to San Francisco, San Diego and Napa, but he always thought “if I ever was in a town that didn't have a donut shop, I would open one.”

Drop In Donut, 132 E. Redwood Ave., is open from 8 a.m. to whenever they sell out (usually by noon) Thursday through Sunday. They are also at the Fort Bragg Farmers Market 3-6 p.m. each Wednesday.

Their web address is dropindonut.com.

* * *

NEOWISE COMET, Coastal View

(photo by Dick Whetstone)

* * *

ASSIGNMENT: UKIAH - ABANDONED BUILDINGS LIST MAY GET LONGER

by Tommy Wayne Kramer

A local specialty is to let our finest, prettiest, most historic buildings be purchased by strangers and then allowed to sit and rot. Encouraged to sit and rot, even.

Almost 40 years have passed since our downtown jewel, the Palace Hotel, closed its doors, seemingly temporarily, only to be purchased by a confused woman of modest means from Marin County. Many forget that until the day doors were locked for the last time it was a high quality hotel with an excellent restaurant and two beautiful bars.

But shut down it did, and though we all thought it would soon reopen, it never will.

The downtown Post Office, a block west of the Palace, was sold to out-of-towners six or eight years ago. The U.S.Postal Service abandoned the classic building so it could relocate to a cheap storage unit near the freeway. It was a stupid move that cost taxpayers many millions of dollars, and cost Ukiah one of its last architectural gems.

The new owners of the old Post Office turned out the lights, locked the doors, put a chain link fence around it and disappeared. Six or eight years ago, mind you.

The bowling alley and skating rink, although (barely) outside the city limits, await gloomy fates none of us will want to watch when the day comes. On South School Street, right downtown and straight across from the Ukiah Conference Center, the video arcade just went dark.

Long before the Palace died, the old Mendocino State Hospital shut down. The beautiful Talmage grounds were offered as home for the brand new Mendocino College at a price of . . . One dollar ($1).

But instead of acquiring what would immediately have been the loveliest college campus in the state, county officials declined.

The school chose instead to operate for many years hunkered down in used trailers at the fairgrounds, then moved to a collection of dreary, cookie-cutter buildings north of town.

Today the JC boasts as cheap and stark a campus as the shabby, pre-fab County headquarters on Low Gap Road, but with a bigger parking lot.

Meanwhile, back at the old hospital, foreign investors bought the grounds and it functions as a school, running some classes in a few buildings.

What takes place throughout the rest of it is unknown. If you asked a thousand Ukiah residents to explain what goes on at the old hospital you wouldn’t learn a thing. We know nothing.

Such as: How many people live there? What do they do? How do they pay the mortgage? Where do they buy their groceries? Who tells them what to do?

More recently the old Trinity School on Ukiah’s west side was purchased by who-knows-whom. The multi-building complex has been a-moldering ever since.

Oh sure, improvements have been made. A few more broken windows have been added to the building at the western edge of the campus for example, and a few years ago some trees got chopped down, one of which collapsed atop the baseball backstop and crushed it.

The ball diamond itself has been converted to a thriving vacant lot.

No one has any more idea what goes on at the old Trinity School than they do the old hospital. The pair occupy hundreds of thousands of square feet in highly desirable sections of Mendocino County and I’d bet no one at either city hall or in county government could even guess what happens in all those rooms down all those hallways.

Allowing buildings to fall apart and become useless and / or dangerous indicates lack of local leadership. It turns a fine, livable city into a trashy, irretrievable mess.

Drive around. Look at boarded up shops, decaying motels, an utter lack of vitality in once-prosperous parts of town and ask yourself who is in charge? Why doesn’t anyone at city hall care, or even notice?

It’s poised to get worse. Ukiah is staring at an incoming wave of failing businesses and empty buildings. Curry’s Furniture recently closed after more than 100 years. What will happen to its massive downtown property?

Will JC Penney’s reopen? Kohl’s? Will the Ukiah movie theater stay afloat? What does a town without a bowling alley, skating rink, movie theater or downtown arcade have to offer kids and families?

Maybe city officials yawn and roll their eyes when sheets of plywood appear in State Street windows. Maybe they shrug at what they think are other peoples’ problems. But when businesses go under and citizens lose their jobs, perhaps the only tragedy city bosses actually care about inevitably follows: Tax revenues decline.

We chase after grant money so we can extend the Rail Trail three more miles, and we fast-track cannabis operations as if a dozen more pot dispensaries might improve our economy, the town’s appearance and the average citizen’s quality of life.

(Hint: They won’t.)

(Tom Hine lives in Ukiah along with his writing partner and pet inflatable doll, Tommy Wayne Kramer. The ‘Assignment: Ukiah’ column has appeared weekly since 2006.)

* * *

UNION LUMBER, Fort Bragg

* * *

WHEN MEASURE B first passed we sent an email to then-Sheriff Allman, then Chair of the Committee, suggesting that the Committee members begin by identifying empty or under-utilized buildings in their respective areas which might be candidates for remodeling as facilities for mental health cases. Sheriff Allman grudgingly distributed our suggestion to his committee, commenting, “This is interesting, I guess.” At the time, the only vacant building Allman wanted to consider was the Old Howard Hospital, which was one possibility, but not anymore apparently. Since then the Measure B people have scrupulously done very little besides rubberstamp a gold-plated, grant-driven, grossly overblown new construction project on Orchard Street next door to Schraeder Inc.’s current operation. Millions of dollars are being spent to design and build what is essentially a glorified motel, as just a glance at architect's design reveals.

For the millions of dollars coming in from Measure B’s sales tax, several remodeled vacant buildings around the County, closer to where the people live, including some of the ones Tommy Wayne Kramer lists in his weekly column, could take care of many more patients at much lower cost. CEO Carmel Angelo once said the Measure B facilities project is akin to building a $50,000 kitchen. And that’s essentially what we’re going to get — for a cost that will add at least two more zeros.

(Mark Scaramella)

* * *

STRELITZIA

(Photo by Larry Wagner)

* * *

FREE COVID-19 SCREENING IN POINT ARENA on July 26, 2020

Redwood Coast Medical Services (RCMS) is pleased to announce that, in collaboration with UCSF and the Mendocino County Health Department, we will be performing another free COVID19 drive-through screening event in our community.

Point Arena

Sunday, July 26, 2020

9:00 AM until swabs run out

Location: Veterans Memorial Building/City Hall, 451 School Street, Point Arena

Who Can be Screened:

- Any resident of Mendocino or Sonoma County can be screened.

- This screening is for people without COVID19 symptoms. (i.e. no fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste/smell, vomiting/diarrhea.) If you have symptoms, do not come to this event, instead, please call RCMS at 707-884-4005 for medical evaluation and care.

Number of Tests Available:

A total of 200 tests will be available. All screening is done on a first come, first served basis.

Procedure:

Screening with be with a nasal swab sitting in your car. If you walk up to the event, you will be screened in a chair outside. We will try to respect your privacy, but this is a public/outside event, and we cannot guarantee privacy.

This event is staffed by community volunteers and RCMS medical staff. 

We would like to thank them deeply for their efforts and time.

* * *

OLD NOYO

* * *

BULLYING FORT BRAGG

by Rex Gressett

The formerly quiet and peaceful city of Fort Bragg, California, is fortunate indeed to have acquired the formidable assistance of Social Justice Warrior Sierra Wooten in the conduct of our affairs. The problem, as she sees it in a nutshell, is that our community's congenital self-deception has blinded us to a heinous racism we didn't know we had.

Ms. Wooten and her devoted cadre of admirers want Fort Bragg to self evaluate and achieve a deeper personal understanding of a virulent racial prejudice that makes itself most loathsome and despicable when it is only perceptible to the “awoken.”

In our little town, Sierra Wooten has acquired an acknowledged preeminence. Awakened social justice warriors, unlike YOU, are privy to an occult system devoid of imperfection, whose amplified moral sense permits them to discern your unconscious motives. They, unlike you, can easily interpret these simultaneous, unconscious and deeply manipulative behaviors that cause you, without your knowledge, to harbor bitter contempt for the racial other — that’s their platform.

They are amusingly serious.

Ms. Wooten has only had the opportunity of attending one City Council meeting in person and had to watch that mostly through the window of city hall as her minions and troops beat their tom-toms and chanted outside the “change the name” meeting.

But her unfamiliarity with the particulars of our local controversies is not an impediment to her insight into desperately needed reforms. With amazing facility, she has taken in every nuance and detail of our grievously racist and contemptible struggle to govern ourselves and pronounced all city business — other than her own geologic reforms — pedestrian and in their entirety irrelevant. Ms Wooten is a consuming fire of passionate sanctimony. Walk quietly.

When Sierra Wooten made her three-minute statement at the emergency City Council meeting she was instantly appointed by Mayor Lee to the “change the name of the city” ad hoc committee. He picked her out spontaneously by means of his keen instinct for integrity and talent — or maybe they had a little chat beforehand.

In any event, the ad hoc committee led by Ms. Wooten has been meeting with councilpeople Bernie Norvell and Jessica Morsel-Haye ever since.

Both councilpeople are feared to be affected with Stockholm Syndrome and are the object of both serious concern and wide sympathy. Bernie thinks it’s going nowhere but he’s deep into it. Whatever. Changing the name of the city is a petty gesture to these daring "Bolshoi bravados."

What they want is POWER, however ludicrous that might seem to the ordinary citizen.

But you gotta admit they are frighteningly serious. Ms. Wooten takes her methods from the playbook of brave flag burners in Portland and Seattle. She thinks she knows how to make you cower in fear. Maybe she does.

As her devoted followers will scream at you — if you are so unwise as to ask them — Ms. Wooten operates on a whole new level of political influence. Ms Wooten is going to set us collectively straight and she intends to do it all without any appeal to public opinion.

A small group of lobotomized followers is all she requires. She has confidence that public fear and cowering conformity will suffice to sweep aside your racist, privileged and pretentious notions and incidentally bring enlightened leadership (her own) to replace this quibbling nonsense about self-government so fraught with racial subterfuge.

So far, it's working great.

When Councilman Lindy Peters asked Ms. Wooten to articulate her noble vision on his local TV program, Ms. Wooten declared that she was far too busy with her organizational activities to stoop to anything as pedestrian as an expression of her views. She suggested that, schedule permitting, she might allocate 45 minutes sometime in August. She feels no need to convince voters or to engage in politics. Fear and cowering and self-censorship — productive of abject uncritical, self-accusation are more effective political tools. The vote naturally follows in consequence.

On the eve of her preeminence, Ms. Wooten momentarily enjoyed the tacit approval of Councilman Peters, Councilperson Jessica Morsell-Haye and strongly — Mayor Will Lee.

When newbie resident Wooten viciously attacked City Manager Tabatha Miller with a barrage of untruths, aspersions and insults the Council reacted with horror. Ms. Wooten missed the era of City Manager quasi-corruption and financial misallocation that precipitated the fortunate acquisition of a universally loved and admired City Manager.

Her appreciation of Tabatha Miller's meticulous honesty, transparency and competence is necessarily limited by her zero experience —- but her attack on the city manager was sweeping, damning and vicious. The City Council, whose collective butt Tabatha Miller has repeatedly saved, was instantly disenchanted with Ms. Wooten and profoundly indignant. 

I have to insist that Fort Bragg is lucky to have Ms. Wooten. Across America, our great cities burn and outrage is unleashed. It's easy to overlook it all from way over here.

Monuments to our proud American history fall in the dirt. Police officers are assassinated with impunity. Innocent People are dying (have you missed that part?). A new mother was shot by Antifa the other day for unwisely saying all lives matter. She did not scream it. She said it over her shoulder and they shot her and made her child an orphan. That's who they are.

They think we don't know that institutions of public governance we have been working on and improving for a millennium are imperfect for sure, but remain our best, indeed our only bulwark against the tyranny they lust for.

Sierra Wooten has brought it all home.

* * *

THIS IS GONE NOW but it used to be on a back street in downtown Boonville. 

I used to call it "Four Door Fence" when I showed it, but now that I look at it more closely, I see it is actually a gate.

Bill Kimberlin

* * *

ED NOTES

THE NAVARRO RIDGE HOTEL, 1899 is quite substantial, dating from the time that inland traffic from Cloverdale, the Anderson Valley and points in between, climbed out of Navarro near Flynn Creek to make its way west to the Mendocino Coast. I asked Malcolm Macdonald if he knew where the hotel had been located on the Ridge. 

"I am not sure. There was a Navarro Ridge Hotel near the western end, which does still exist though reconfigured. But there was at least one more historical Navarro Ridge Hotel at more of a midpoint on the ridge. To further the confusion there were multiple ‘Halfway House’ locales on Navarro Ridge." 

I'VE WRITTEN two letters to the Giants front office, the first a complaint about being sold a bad seat for forty dollars by a smirking ticket agent, which should have tipped me off that I was the day's designated sap. It was one of two forty-dollar seats situated in such a way that the bar between the seat and the field blocked the field from view. I'm sure I'm not the first person to complain about it. I walked all around the park and couldn't find another one like it, concluding I'd been sold an unremedied architectural fluke that the Giants, out of at least mild contempt for their customers, kept on selling. I guess there was something about me that the malicious little twit who sold me the seat didn't like. In my letter to the front office I admit to some gratuitous whining, pulling rank as a fan all the way back to Seals Stadium, through the long, frigid nights at Candlestick, through many losing seasons and teams that should have paid me to watch them, there I was in the cheap seats, a loyal fan from deep baseball antiquity, whose first sports memory was listening to radio bulletins of Babe Ruth's death. And to sell me a ticket with the field not visible, a ticket I usually don't buy because I prefer the much less expensive seats at the very top of the new ballpark at 3rd and Townsend, which isn't so new anymore but still seems new to me? Me a loyally subversive American? The indignity! Not a peep from the Giants. Not even a form letter irrelevantly thanking me for my interest in the blah-blah quack-quack. Nothing.

THE SECOND LETTER — yes, written in full knowledge of its crank-like implications — was more whimsical, written just to see if the team's public relations office was on the job, that at a minimum I'd get a form letter back thanking me for my blah-blah. On the remote chance that a fully functioning human-type being opened my letter and, fully getting it replied in kind, well, my faith in corporate sports would be partly restored.  I wrote that I was an old guy quite willing to risk covids 1 through 19 if the Giants would let me in to watch the games live, that I'd make no demands for amenities or special treatment, explaining I was quite spry for my age and could, no problemo as we say in Boonville, make my way to the rim of the ballpark unaided, that I'd be so far up there only the seagulls would notice. It's been two weeks…

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, July 26, 2020

Billy, Cabezas, Freeman, Hammond

FLOYD BILLY, Covelo. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

OSCAR CABEZAS-TAFOYA, Ukiah. Burglary during emergency, conspiracy.

JOSHUA FREEMAN, Potter Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

DARIN HAMMOND, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

Hobbs, Idica, Landry, Magdaleno

JAMESON HOBBS, Colfax/Willits. DUI.

PHILLIP IDICA, Ukiah. Resisting.

JACOB LANDRY, Ukiah. Domestic battery, probation revocation.

LUNA MAGDALENO, Ukiah. Burglary during emergency, conspiracy, probation revocation.

Neagle, Poole, Ricetti

RICHARD NEAGLE, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.

RICHARD POOLE II, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, battery on peace officer, resisting.

AMBER RICETTI, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

* * *

MIAMI MARLINS CANCEL GAME AS CORONAVIRUS SPREADS

The Miami Marlins' home opener against the Baltimore Orioles on Monday night has been canceled, sources told ESPN's Jeff Passan, as coronavirus cases continue to pop up among the team.

Eight more players and two coaches with the Marlins have tested positive for the coronavirus, as an outbreak has spread throughout their clubhouse and brought the total cases in recent days to at least 14, sources familiar with the situation told ESPN.

The Marlins remain in Philadelphia and continue to undergo testing after their weekend series there.

On Sunday, four Marlins players tested positive for the coronavirus, including that day's starter, Jose Urena, according to sources familiar with the situation, leading the team to delay its postgame trip home amid concerns about a possible outbreak.

The Marlins were already going to be without the services of Urena, catcher Jorge Alfaro, who was placed on the injured list before their season opener on Friday, infielder Garrett Cooper and outfielder Harold Ramirez.

Before the Marlins' opening series in Philadelphia, the team played an exhibition game in Atlanta on Wednesday. It's also possible that the infections occurred there.

espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/29546814/sources-marlins-cancel-game-virus-spreads

* * *

* * *

BREAKFAST AT THE DINER #5

by Doug Holland

A youngish white guy comes into the diner. He's clean-cut and wearing a suit and tie, and he sits a few stools away from an ancient bald man who sometimes has oxygen tubes in his nose, but not today. I've never seen the young guy before, but the old guy eats here often, so I know him by name — Saul — even though we've never spoken.

Saul and the clean-cut guy are having a long and deeply tedious conversation about the Black Lives Matter protests in town, which have recently turned into almost-riots. Neither of them knows much about what's going on but that doesn't keep them from talking about it, saying things the young guy probably heard on TV and the old guy might have read in a newspaper. 

"They tore down the statues, even the statue of that guy who fought against slavery in the 1800s." … "I'm awfully tired of seeing all the businesses boarded up." … "I don't even understand what the protesters want." …

Now I'm nearing my limit for how much stupidity I can stand, but I've lost every fistfight I've ever been in, so I bite my tongue and bite my omelet. Not to mention, there are two black customers in the diner who can't help hearing all this, and if they can take it in silence so can I.

Then the guy wearing a tie says, "I think it's all because we've drifted too far from God." There's muffled laughter from every direction in the restaurant, except me; I don't muffle. Saul gives the guy a ten-second stare, then opens his mouth to say something, but doesn't. Instead he takes a deep breath, lets out a ridiculously long sigh, and starts talking to the waitress about baseball.


Two middle-aged men, one white, one black, are eating alone, sitting ten stools apart, but they want to talk with each other so they're talking loud, about the weather and their weekend plans. At some point there's a lull in the conversation, and both of them turn their heads a bit and for a moment all three of us are making eye contact. I give 'em each half a smile, which I guess adds up to a complete smile, and then avert my eyes back to my breakfast and magazine. Eye contact is way too much contact for me.

The black guy, after his fourth or fifth cup of coffee, has a sudden urge to take a pee. I know this because he says, "I have a sudden urge to take a pee," before he gets up and disappears down the hall into the men's room. When he steps out a minute later, Kirstin the waitress asks him, "Did you wash your hands?" and everyone laughs, including him. But he doesn't answer the question.


Another old man comes in, scowling and surly, places his order in a grumpy tone of voice, and says nothing else until he's had a couple of sips of coffee. "Damn good coffee," he says, and adds "as always." He's another familiar face, and he makes the same sour, drawn-out entrance every time I see him. With the addition of caffeine to his bloodstream, he evolves from grumpy-but-quiet to grumpy-but-chatty, and after half an hour his grumpiness fades and he's just chatty and annoying. As always.

This morning as he pays his bill, he offers a parting thought: "There's nothing about any of this coronavirus crap that doesn't stink, but we'll come through. And some of us won't come through, but that's OK too. The world will get along without us." And then he's gone. I've spent hours in the same room with that old man over the years, and that's the most optimistic thing I've ever heard him say.


Most folks sit at the counter, but some prefer a table. The danger of eating at a table, though, is that you'll see the waitress less often. You might have to wave your hands or holler if you need ketchup or cream.

Kirstin brings breakfast to a middle-aged black lady at one of the tables, and says "Enjoy your meal." Then she bustles back behind the counter, and does all her ordinary tasks — washes a few dishes, pours more coffee for everyone, takes another order, etc. When there's finally a lull in her waitress-work, the lady at the table says, "Excuse me, could I please have some salt and pepper when you have a minute?" Couldn't be more courteous.

Kirstin comes quickly with fresh and clean shakers, and she's very apologetic. "Oh, I'm so sorry," she says, "and it looks like you've already had several bites of your eggs. You can always shout if you need something. I'm always listening, even if I'm busy or in the back."

The customer says, "Ah, no worries, Kirstin. I could see you were busy. You're not just standing around playing solitary."

So here we have a couple of nice ladies being kind and considerate to each other, a microcosm of the world as it should be, yet all I can think is, Playing solitary? No, the game is solitaire. Long ago in another city, another life, I was an editor, and whether I'm reading or listening, I still second-guess bad grammar and incorrect syntax and usage. I'd hate me if I wasn't me.


As I'm counting my cash to pay up and leave, a middle-aged white couple comes in, married is my guess, and they sit at the counter. He looks 50-something, fresh-shaved and wearing a very stylish sweater even though it's already 70° before 7:00 in the morning — he looks boring as hell, in other words. She's pleasingly plump, early-50s I'd guess, and her hair is mildly disheveled and dyed slightly purple — the modern housewife look, but it looks good on her.

I only glanced at that lady for a few seconds, but it was long enough to appreciate her. I'm old but I ain't dead, if you take my meaning. Said "Thanks" to Kirstin, walked out to my car, and I'd driven halfway home before I realized why that woman had caught my eye. She looked a little like my late wife, the woman I'll miss every moment of every day for however long remains.

I'm a grumpy old man who lives alone and has few friends — basically a hermit. Once a week I have breakfast at my favorite diner. Most weeks it's my only in-person interaction with other humans, which is not my strong suit.

Yeah, I'm aware of the coronavirus, so I go to the diner at dawn, before it gets busy. I wash my hands before and after, cough into my elbow, spray Lysol on my food, pay at my plate, tell the waitress to keep the change, and hold my breath while leaving until I'm outside. It's a little more dangerous than staying at home, but life without breakfast at the diner would be a shitty life, so get off my lawn.

And remember, decent people leave a generous tip.

* * *

* * *

ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

Fantasy and mania run rampant in the delusional republic, no more so than in the bastions of higher – cough – learning where derangement of emotion and disorder in logical processing mark the scholar and philosopher and self-proclaimed thought leader.

You can see it on the telly, in such shows as Amanpour’s gab-fest where self-congratulating participants laud themselves and the people that led the US and much of the world into this historical cul-de-sac where rules of nature and of such minor considerations as the march of history and its lessons are proclaimed to be suspended for no reason other than their inconvenience.

Realty’s logic is iron-clad but its means are devious. If disease plagues the thought processes of an increasingly unfit “thinking” class, with the concept of a “borderless world” as one of its manifestations, Reality has the solution. It’s called the coronavirus. You hear about natural selection? This is natural selection. 

Most severely affected right now are the underclasses, those serving the physical needs of the intellectual, you know, people like farm workers, people in meat plants, but as economic and societal disruption spread, it becomes a matter of who has the means to provide for himself and his family ie guys with practical skills and not only that but means of self defense, ie fire-arms. And intellectuals have got a severe deficit in both these departments. 

It’s a lesson of history, one of those buggery things that you see dotted throughout the written and archaeological record, elites are upended when they fail to get a clue. 

* * *

BRIDGE JUMP, GREENWOOD

* * *

AN ATTACK ON EDWARD SAID’S LEGACY

by Lawrence Davidson

Part I—Meeting Caroline Glick

I traveled to Israel and the Occupied Territories in the early 2000s with the progressive group Faculty for Israeli-Palestinian Peace. We made an effort to gain insight into most of the players in the conflict, and so a series of interviews was arranged with members of the Israeli right wing. I remember that one of them was Caroline Glick, an ardent American-Israeli Zionist. She lectured us on the positive personal relationships allegedly prevalent between Israeli Jews and Palestinians.

It was an interesting and somewhat embarrassing experience. Glick and I are both American and both Jewish. Growing up, I had this understanding that American plus Jewish always meant being anti-racist. To be so was, in my mind, the prime lesson of modern Jewish history. What being anti-racist meant to Glick was unclear. She spent the better part of an hour giving us a defense of Israeli-Jewish treatment of Palestinians based on the classic “some of my best friends are Black” (read Palestinian) defense. In the words of the New York Times journalist John Eligon, this line of argument “has so often been relied on by those facing accusations of racism that it has become shorthand for weak denials of bigotry—a punch line about the absence of thoughtfulness and rigor in our conversations about racism.” And so it was with Glick, who explained that she, and many other Israeli Jews, had Palestinians who do small jobs for them and are treated well, and that this proves a lack of cultural and societal racism. It was such a vacuous argument that I remember feeling embarrassed for her.

Things haven’t gotten much better when it comes to Ms. Glick’s worldview. She is now a senior columnist at Israel Hayom (Israel Today, a pro-Netanyahu newspaper owned by the family of Sheldon Anderson) and contributor to such questionable U.S. outlets as Breitbart News. She also directs the Israeli Security Project at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. There can be little doubt that she continues to see the world through the distorting lens of a particularly hardline variant of Zionism.

Part II—Glick’s Attack on Edward Said’s Legacy

Recently, Caroline Glick launched an attack on the legacy of the late American-Palestinian scholar and teacher Edward Said. Entitled “Edward Said, Prophet of Political Violence in America,” it was recently (7 July 2020) published in the U.S. by Newsweek—a news magazine with an increasingly pro-Zionist editorial stand. As it turns out, one cannot find a better example of how ideology can distort one’s outlook to the point of absurdity. Below is an analysis of Glick’s piece in a point-by-point fashion. Ultimately, the ideological basis for her argument will become clear.

1. Glick begins by resurrecting a twenty-year-old event. “On July 3, 2000, an incident occurred along the Lebanese border with Israel that, at the time, seemed both bizarre and unimportant. That day, Columbia University professor Edward Said was photographed on the Hezbollah-controlled Lebanese side of the border with Israel throwing a rock at an Israel Defense Forces watchtower 30 feet away.” She goes on to describe this act as “Said's rock attack on Israel” and the “soldiers protecting their border.”

We need some context to put all of this in perspective: Israel is an expansionist state, and the original Zionist aim (as presented to the Paris Peace Conference following World War I) was to incorporate parts of southern Lebanon into what is now Israel. Southern Lebanon also briefly became a staging area for Palestinian retaliatory attacks into Israel. Thus, Israel invaded Lebanon multiple times only to be forced to withdraw in the face of resistance led by Hezbollah, a strong Lebanese Shiite militia in control of much of southern Lebanon.

Said relates that during his 2000 visit to the Lebanese border with his family, he threw a pebble (not a “rock”) at a deserted Israeli watchtower (no Israeli soldiers were “defending their border”).  Said saw this as a symbolic act of defiance against Israeli occupation. Over the years stone throwing by Palestinian youth had become just such a symbolic act. And, it was from their example that Said might have taken his cue.

2. However, Glick wants to draw highly questionable consequences from Said’s act. She tells us that “with the hindsight of 20 years, it was a seminal moment and a harbinger for the mob violence now taking place in many parts of America.” By the way, the “mob violence” in America she is referring to is the mass protests against police brutality that followed the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police on 25 May 2020.

3. Now that sounds a bit odd. How does Glick manage this segue from Edward Said’s symbolic stone toss in the year 2000 to nationwide inner-city rebellions against police brutality in 2020 America? Here is the contorted sequence she offers:

a. Said was a terrorist because he was an influential member of the alleged “terrorist organization,” the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). “Terrorist organization” is a standard Zionist descriptor of most Palestinian organizations. Actually, the PLO is the legally recognized representative of the Palestinian people and as such has carried on both a armed and a diplomatic struggle to liberate Palestine from Israeli Occupation. In 1993, the PLO recognized Israel’s right to exist. This made little difference to the Zionist right wing who, like Glick, continued to use the terrorist tag for propaganda purposes. It is to be noted that all liberation movements are considered to be “terrorist” by those they fight against. And, indeed both sides in such a struggle usually act in this fashion on occasion. Certainly, Israel is no innocent in this regard.

b. For Glick, Said’s alleged terrorist connection transforms his “rock attack” into a terrorist act. This is simply an ad hominem assertion on Glick’s part. There is no evidence that Said ever engaged in any act, including the tossing of stones, that can sanely be characterized as terrorism.

c. Glick tells us that, at the same time Said was 'committing a terrorist attack’ on Israel, he was also “the superstar of far-Left intellectuals.” It is hard to know what she means here by “far-Left.” It is seems to be another ad hominem slander. Said was a scholar of Comparative Literature and, when not in the classroom, he advocated for the political and human rights of oppressed Palestinians—how “far-Left” is that?

d. Nonetheless, Glick goes on to assert that as a “far-Left” academic, Said waged a “nihilistic” and “anti-intellectual” offensive against Western thought. He did so in a well-known work entitled Orientalism published in 1978.

What does Orientalism actually say? Using mostly 19th century literary and artistic examples, the book documents the prevailing Western perception of the Near East and North Africa, which stands in for the Orient. This perception reflects a basically bipolar worldview—one which, according to Said, reserved for the West a superior image of science and reason, prosperity and high culture, and for the Orient an inferior somewhat mysterious and effeminate image of the “other” fated for domination by the West. Over time this view became pervasive in the West and influenced not only literary and artistic views of the Orient, but also impacted political, historical, anthropological and other non-fictional interpretations. Having helped create a superior sense of self, this orientalist perception served as a rationale for Western world dominance. It should be said that whether one agrees with every one of Said’s details or not, there is no doubt his well researched and documented work has made most scholars more aware of their biases.

e. Glick refuses to see Orientalism as just an influential academic work. Instead, in what appears to be a pattern of illogical jumps, she claims that “in Orientalism, Said characterized all Western—and particularly American—scholarship on the Arab and Islamic worlds as one big conspiracy theory” designed to justify empire. This then is the heart of Said’s alleged “nihilistic” repudiation of Western scholarship. She particularly points to Said’s claim that “From the Enlightenment period through the present every European, in what he could say about the Orient, was a racist, an imperialist and almost totally ethnocentric.” While this is a far-reaching generalization, it basically reflects an equally pervasive, very real Western cultural bias. What Glick describes as a “conspiracy theory” is Said’s scholarly demonstration of how that bias has expressed itself. And, it should be noted that such pervasive biases are not uniquely American nor even Western. Chinese, Japanese, Arab/Muslim, Hindu and Jewish civilizations have their own variants of such biases. Yet, it is Said’s effort to expose and ameliorate the orientalism of the West that seems to madden Caroline Glick.

f. For Glick, Said’s suggestion that both past as well as many present scholars have culturally biased points of view of the Orient becomes an accusation that any “great scholar” with a classical Western worldview “is worse than worthless. If he is a white American, he is an agent of evil.” Glick is now building a real head of steam and her account becomes more and more grotesque. She now claims that Said’s work is “intellectual nihilism.” How so? Because it “champions narrative over evidence.” What Glick is implying here is that Said’s work is an anti-Western screed presented without evidence. This is demonstrably wrong, but nonetheless provides a platform for Glick’s further assertion that Said’s fantastical narrative is told in order to “manipulate students to engage in political violence against the United States.”

Part III—What Is This All About?

Caroline Glick makes repeated illogical jumps. As egregious as these are they actually point the way to her larger ideological agenda.

1. Said is a terrorist because he opposes Israel and supports the   Palestinians. Participation in the PLO is her proof of this.

2. Because Said is a terrorist, his throwing of a stone at the southern Lebanese border is a terrorist attack against Israel and its defense forces.   

3. Somehow, Said’s throwing the stone was also “a harbinger for the mob violence now taking place in many parts of America.” The connector here is Said’s tossing of an intellectual “rock”—his thesis presented in Orientalism.   

4. Just as his “rock attack” was terroristic, so Said’s book, Orientalism, is itself an act of terrorism as well as a “nihilistic” project.

5. It is all these nasty things rolled into one because it calls into question established cultural assumptions that had long underpinned colonialism and imperialism, and which also just happens to underpin Israel’s claim to legitimacy.

6. But there is more. Glick tells us, “Said's championing of the Palestinian war against Israel was part of a far wider post-colonialist crusade he waged against the United States. The purpose of his scholarship was to deny American professors the right to study and understand the world [in an orientalist fashion] by delegitimizing them as nothing but racists and imperialists.”

7. And finally, “Orientalism formed the foundation of a much broader   campaign on campuses to delegitimize the United States as a political   entity steeped in racism.”

Part IV—Conclusion

Glick’s attack on Edward Said’s legacy is beset with leaps of illogic. So let me conclude this analysis with my own leap, hopefully a logical one, to an explanation of what may be Glick’s larger agenda. Glick is attempting to turn the ideological clock back to a time before decolonization. Specifically, she wishes to resurrect an overall acceptance of Western colonialism as a benevolent endeavor whereby progress and civilization was spread by a superior culture.

Why would she want to do this? Because if we all believe this proposition, then Israel can be seen as a legitimate and normal state. After all, Israel is the last of the colonial settler states—the imposition of Western culture into the Orient. It rules over millions of Palestinian Arabs as the result of a European invasion made “legal” by a colonial document, the Balfour Declaration, and its acceptance by a pro-colonial League of Nations. Our post-colonial age in which Edward Said is a “superstar intellectual,” is seen as a constant threat to Zionist Israel’s legitimacy.

Edward Said’s legacy provides a strong theoretical foundation for understanding why the Western imperialists thought and acted as they did, and hence helps both Western and non-Western peoples to confront their own modern historical situation. However, Glick cannot see any of this except through the Zionist perspective. Thus, Said’s legacy is just part of an anti-Israeli conspiracy—an attack on those scholars who support the legitimacy of an orientalist point of view and of the Zionist state.

She also suggests that Said’s undoing of historically accepted biases lets loose the “mob violence” seen in the U.S. There is no evidence for this, but it may be Glick’s  roundabout way of undermining student support for Palestinian rights on American campuses.

Ultimately, what Glick is interested in is preserving the image of Israel as a Western democratic enclave in an otherwise uncivilized sea of Arab and Islamic barbarians. That fits right into the traditional orientalist belief system and justifies the continuing U.S.-Israeli alliance. Said has successfully called that perspective into question. Hence Glick’s assault on his legacy.

Finally, Glick’s present attack on Said, and her attempt to tie his work into the protests that followed George Floyd’s murder, shows how frightened the defenders of one racist state, Zionist Israel, become when their principle ally, the United States, comes under attack for racist practices. Said as a “superstar” foe of all racism becomes the lighting rod for that fear.

(Lawrence Davidson, can be reached at: ldavidson@wcupa.edu)

* * *

* * *

“IT’S HARD TO DESCRIBE but the feeling is gone, the vibe absent. The thing that made New York, New York is missing. What’s it like now? It’s very tense. People are very anxious and angry. Everything is closed or, if open, listless. There is no nightlife. If you leave your apartment after 9 p.m. it’s a complete ghost town inhabited by wraiths and zombies, dangerous people… In certain parts of town you have a mob of folks partying outside, like a street fair. Other folks keep their masks tightly on and live in fear. The only place I’ve found some civility and warmth is the city playgrounds where I take my daughter each day. The children are oblivious to the pandemic and just play and climb.” 

— Spike Wilner

* * *

* * *

HAIKU FOR THE NEW AMERICAN MINOR ARISTOCRACY

You want to keep your Country?
Here’s the easy way.
Just pay your taxes.

Nothing of yourself
Not your service nor your life
Nor your children’s lives.

Nor your own sweet time
Nor your genuine striving
Nor anything dear.

Save all your effort,
Your sincere dedication.
Just write ‘em a check.

Yes. Just pay with the money
That others don’t have,
Those who pay with dearer coin.

—Jim Luther

* * *

FOUND OBJECT

* * *

IF BY GODOT I had meant God I would have said God, and not Godot.

— Samuel Beckett

16 Responses to "MCT: Monday, July 27, 2020"

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.