So I get my new issue of Columbia (Winter 20/21) and took a look at the letters. There was an article in the previous issue that was pretty lame, actually, along the lines of “why can’t we get along” with the Red/Blue divide. I skimmed it, but thought I’d look at the letters it engendered. Okay, the usual… wouldn’t it be nice if we could get along, we can’t possibly get along… that kind of thing.
Then I get to a quite long letter from the Right flank, from a certain Kenin Spivak, from my school and my year (CC77). He finished his BA in three years, and then got his business and law degrees at the same time over the next three years! Very impressive. Also, his address is Beverly Hills, and I rather doubt we’re talking about the flats of Beverly Hills (i.e., the cheap part… well, relatively cheap) or a Beverly Hills post office box. I expect we’re talking about the Good Parts. The parts where you don’t want to be a pedestrian because you’ll be stopped by the police… or a brown-colored driver in any kind of car.
I wondered if I ever met him. I was a Physics major and never had the most impressive work ethic (I think I pulled two all-nighters in four years; I still regret them), so I’m sure I never hung out with a driven, ambitious pre-law student. I doubt he was in the Columbia Players or Barnard Gilbert & Sullivan, which was my social circle. He probably was in the Sachems and the Nacoms, the group of high-achieving strivers. Basically, Columbia’s version of Skull and Bones, I guess, though I was never in either one so who knows. For all I know, they had a soup kitchen. Doubt it, though.
What struck me as odd were his many references to anarchists; he says it 4 or 5 times. Anarchists who want to destroy the nuclear family. Anarchists who seek the violent overthrow of the government (ironic, now). Anarchists who oppose Democracy (also kind of ironic at this point). Anarchists who are appeased by the Democrats, so Democrats become terrorists-by-proxy, of course.
I’m looking around and thinking, Anarchists? Really? Where? Terrifying! Is it like anarchists at the turn of the 20th century, who were scruffy and unshaven and carried bombs that were shaped like cannonballs, with fuses? Interestingly, those anarchists were branded as being predominantly Jewish. Like Mr. Spivak, esq.
I see he also goes on about the specter of cancel culture, which “…directly threaten(s) the safety and welfare of nearly every American.” I think he should really have a chat with Ross Douthat, a fellow (not to me, to Spivak) conservative, who wrote a really cogent editorial about cancel culture. I recommend it.
Spivak sounds batty to me, and I really have to wonder about the specter of these unnamed anarchists. Like many, primarily on the Right, he seems to have created a Fantasy Enemy. This Enemy’s existence is vital, because it allows Spivak to vote to, say, lower his own taxes and regulations on his business, but feel like he’s voting to Save Civilization. Much more satisfying! But it also provides a tool to rebut those who accuse Republicans of cozying up to White Supremacists, neo-Nazis, and other disreputable and frankly actually dangerous sorts. You need scary, unnamed “anarchists” if you want to say, No, YOU!
I try to think statistically, that all kinds of things are possible if not probably, and of course there are folk who consider themselves lefty who are murderous assholes. I’m sure there are Stalinists around. But, honestly, at this point in history, with the left in America being what it is, they are the party that wants to provide services. They are the party that is horrified at COVID going through nursing homes. Republicans, at this point in history, are the party that says, so what? They were old anyway. Republicans now are the people who can’t admit COVID is real or dangerous because they want to protect the Trump that lives inside them, like an organ. So if you’re looking for murderous assholes, I think you’ll have a much better chance finding them over there, on the Right.
At this point in history. Who can speak for the future.
Does anyone know this guy? I assume he’s alright, since he’s in Beverly Hills and all… Maybe a family member could call him and speak in a soothing voice. Tell him that they’ve checked, and there are no anarchists in Beverly Hills today.
(That we know of! Bwah-hah-hah!)