A Clapback at Christopher LeBron and Boston Review

I loved LeBron’s classy clapback at Laura Ingraham and FOX.  Hashtag “WeWillNotShutUpandDribble”.  So when one of my mentors used this Boston Review hit piece to validate his reluctance to see Marvel’s Black Panther movie, which I view as a shaping event in cultural evolution, I thought I’d write a small clapback of my own on why the BP film is so important.  To begin with, the title– “Black Panther is Not the Movie We Deserve”– lol, what entitlement– “We” don’t “deserve” anything.

the Boston Review piece–

The change that the movie supposedly heralds is black empowerment to effectively challenge racist narratives.

???? WTH? where is that coming from?  Maybe I’m compromised because I have read and cherished the comix from the Ta-Nehisi Coates reboot, but one of the (many) major themes is terrorism.  Killmonger is a terrorist.  Chris Lebron moaning about how Killmonger isnt Loki is just spectacularly irrelevant.

From 2016: TNC’s own words about the reboot.

WIRED: What’s your take on the politics of Wakanda?

TNC: Wakanda is the most advanced nation on earth—in certain renditions of Black Panther, these guys came up with a cure for cancer—and yet it has the most primitive form of governance on the planet: absolute monarchy. The one case an absolute monarch can make is “I keep the people safe.” What happens in a country where that’s no longer true? How do the people feel about that? That’s the story we’re telling.

Black Panther and Cultural Evolution

I have all the Black Panther comix from the start of the reboot when Ta Nehisi Coates began writing the storyline.  Its just tremendously good. Textured and layered with meaning and subtlety.  Like all his work.  The first thing I ever read by Coates was this Atlantic essay— and I have this line graved in my memory like the first line from Finnegan’s Wake or the beginning of Rebecca– I cant forget it.

But in this deeper home of mine, from the aspect of the slave, a Road is a star-ship, a tesseract from half-man to man.

I was heartbroken when TNC was driven from twitter by alt-right trolls.  But worse than the Spencer style frognazi troll attacks was the immediate betrayal of the rightist public intellectuals.

I dont read conservative tendency public intellectuals or twitter pundits.  I only get exposed to RW tendency when i read Steve Hsu or SlateStarCodex .  I was particularly saddened by this Steve Hsu post.  And this Steve Hsu post.  Hoo booy, hopping right back on the old HBD hobby horse of black racial inferiority.

I think conservative tendency must have a phenotypic basis.  That’s why its not possible to persuade individuals with red brain biochemisty.  Its why the GOP base can be manipulated by carny barker Trump and his freakshow administration into doing the bidding of the one percent.  Its because red brains are less intelligent than blue brains on average.  Thats what the HDB guys say on racial IQ, on average.

The cool thing about this is we are likely going to be able to prove this with Big Data, GWAS, and cognitive genomics.  Would it be good to prove this?  Probably not– its a pretty big basilisk (something we would be better off not knowing) — might actually start a new civil war.

If we think of society as a large pond, we can envision culture events as stones tossed into the pond spreading ripples…school shootings seem to be small pebbles with little ripples.  But the Black Panther movie is a boulder.  Millions of humans will see the movie.  The propagation of the wave forms from Black Panther will have massive and lasting effect.

My nephew is in high school in an affluent North Carolina suburb– he’s 16 and he’s read two books by TNC in his African Studies class.  Women’s rights, minority rights, gender rights, all part of the culture pond he and his friends swim in.  TNC’s movie even has a warning about wall building spliced into the credits.  He and his friends think Trump is a ludicrous old creeper.  Now Steve Hsu and Glenn Loury may think TNC is not a “deep thinker”–

Loury (@19min): “He’s a good writer but not a deep thinker, and he’s being taken seriously as if he was a deep thinker… he’s talented I mean there’s not any doubt about that but the actual analytical content of the argument, there are gaping holes in it…”

–but TNC’s thoughts are shaping culture and society in a multi-media way theirs are not.  And never will.

TNC is shaping the culture of the future.

WAKANDA FOREVER!

Ta-Nehisi, T’challa, and Me

I have always loved comix– its how I learned to read! Sneaking comix from my older brothers’ Marvel stash.  And I have always loved Ta-Nehisi Coates– his writing is just astonishingly beautiful.  So now that TNC has begun to write Black Panther for Marvel, I’m ecstatic.  And I can’t wait for the movie in 2018.

But the most interesting thing I read in the WIRED article is this.

The plot involves a terrorist attack on Black Panther’s kingdom of Wakanda, which spurs a popular revolt. How influenced were you by the ongoing war on terror?

A lot. I was also influenced by the recent wave of revolution through the Middle East and the American Revolution. Once these revolutions are done they might be perceived as heroic, but it doesn’t always look heroic at the time. It might look downright villainous. I mean, the American revolutionaries tarred and feathered people.

The first incidence of a public figure (excluding Dr. Atran) acknowledging that islamic “terrorism” is actually a revolutionary movement.  Much as we perceive the French Revolution as heroic in retrospect, the aristos of the time certainly viewed it as terrorism.  They even called it “the Terror”.  The aristocrat blood pooling around the guillotine is analogous to IS beheading Americans and Brits on viral videos– a demonstration of a government unable to protect its citizens, much like T’challa in Wakanda.  There were even pet names for the guillotine:

L’abbaye de monte-à-regret : (The Abbey of the Reluctant Climb),
Le Rasoir national : (The national Razor),
Le Vasistas : (The fanlight),
La Veuve :(The Widow),
Louisette or Louison : (from the name of the inventor Antoine Louis),
Madame La Guillotine : (Mrs. Guillotine)
Mirabelle: (from the name of Mirabeau),

Like probably the American Revolution was regarded as terrorism by King George and brit citizens.  Ta-Nehisi plans to explore this more in the Black Panther series.

What’s your take on the politics of Wakanda?

Wakanda is the most advanced nation on earth—in certain renditions of Black Panther, these guys came up with a cure for cancer—and yet it has the most primitive form of governance on the planet: absolute monarchy. The one case an absolute monarch can make is “I keep the people safe.” What happens in a country where that’s no longer true? How do the people feel about that? That’s the story we’re telling.

That is a very interesting to me because thats one of the goals expressed in Nājī doctrine– that the unbelievers will no longer be safe– neither in their international tourist playgrounds nor in their home countries.

I’ll leave you with Robespierre.

​​​​​‘Virtue, without which terror is destructive; terror, without which virtue is impotent. Terror is only justice prompt, severe and inflexible; it is then an emanation of virtue…’

Maximilien Robespierre, On the Principles of Political Morality (1794)