Monday, January 19, 2004

FADE FROM BLACK. National Review Online has posted no Martin Luther King observance today. This is a switch. In recent years, NRO writers have celebrated the great man's birth by explaining how he was really a conservative, or wishing aloud that they could still call people of King's race colored. Idiotic as these observances were, they still acknowledged the occasion.

But this year, nothing's doing, unless this thing by Jay Nordlinger is meant as a tribute:
DEPT. OF "I WISH I HAD SAID THAT": "George W. Bush has several black Americans in high-ranking positions, but often they're not considered black, because they are, of course, Republican. So here's my thought: Michael Jackson could have saved himself a fortune on cosmetic surgery just by becoming a Republican -- then, in the eyes of the world, he would have stopped being black."
But then, Nordlinger is capable of this kind of shit the rest of the year too. So it would seem that NRO is passing the holiday in silence.

One would like to think it is embarrassed silence, an acknowledgement that they have nothing worthwhile to say about the subject. I fear it is probably a different sort of resignation that has quieted them: with affirmative action dug in for a few more years at least, the President factoring no black votes into his electorial plans, and the most regular and readable black contributor to NRO a cursed pro-gay libertarian, the NROniks have probably just given up on black folk entirely.

OpinionJournal doesn't mention MLK Day either. Last year, a few days before King's birthday, they posted an article about Republicans and race -- basically praising Bush for speaking against Trent Lott, saying it gave him "racial capital that's much too precious to squander," and warning that "white Americans cannot continue to deliver nationwide elections to Republicans."

Maybe they've changed their minds, too.

UPDATE. Pandagon has some good Right-on-King notes, too.

UPDATE II. Here's something to contemplate on MLK Day. Did you know people made postcards of lynchings? I sure didn't, and I grew up in a culture of victimization that discouraged the pulling up of one's own bootstraps, gave Toni Morrison the Nobel Prize, and continues to stigmatize frat boys who think the term "colored people" is a real scream.

UPDATE III. At NRO's The Corner, Denmother Lopez finally drops some MLK love, sort of: a statement, posted without comment, from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Money quote: "Racial progress is a train that left the station decades ago..." Spin connoisseurs will note the cliche denoting finality ("left the station") used to describe "progress," which is by its nature ongoing. Think one can't have it both ways? One can with the right speechwriters.

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