Well, the Postmodern Outrage phrase for this week is: "The Western world is evil because _____."
All right. Let's just shuffle the Outrage deck here. The answer is: "Trump." Ah. Not that one again—there sure are a lot of Trump cards in this deck. Here, let me shuffle again. Here we go. This one just says "Flags."
Last week the movie "First Man" premiered. It's about Neil Armstrong and the moon landing. If you were to close your eyes, and I say "moon landing," odds are I can guess what images will come to mind. The American flag on the surface of the Moon. We've all seen that footage countless times. Landing on the Moon was no doubt a remarkable human achievement. It's also, inarguably, an American achievement. To say otherwise would be a denial of history.
The movie "First Man" entirely omitted that moment. Which is just as much about artistic laziness as it is about historical importance—they could've done so much with that moment, from a creative perspective. Oh well. It's a movie. We should know what to expect from Hollywood by now. Shrug. Move on. Let the Left find something to be outraged about. It never stops there, though, not anymore.
Ryan Gosling made it clear that the omission of the planting of the flag was intentional because the moon landing was less an American accomplishment than a human accomplishment and that Neil Armstrong didn't see himself as an American hero.
Marco Rubio chimed in: "This is total lunacy. And a disservice at a time when our people need reminders of what we can achieve when we work together. The American people paid for that mission on rockets built by Americans, with American technology & carrying American astronauts. It wasn't a UN mission."
There's a reason there aren't any Italian flags, Brazilian flags, Ugandan flags, or Pakistani flags on the Moon. It's foolish to ignore that while, yes, the Moon landing was a human achievement, it was also the result of a distinctively American time in history. A film about the life of Socrates wouldn't ignore that he was Greek, or remove his nationality, "for the sake of universality." It's a matter of historical accuracy. But there's also the subtle political nonsense lurking behind it all.
There's a reason there aren't any Italian flags, Brazilian flags, Ugandan flags, or Pakistani flags on the Moon.
The movie's director Damien Chazelle made the following statement:
"To address the question of whether this was a political statement, the answer is no. … This film is about one of the most extraordinary accomplishments not only in American history but in human history." Fair enough.
It's hard to imagine that the director is not making a political statement. Here's a preview of his political beliefs as represented on Twitter: "We're living a historic moment. Things don't often come this clear-cut. Anyone in a position of power who stays silent is complicit."
Here's another one: "The Trump administration is openly endorsing Nazism and white supremacy. It's that simple."
"That the epic moral failure we're witnessing now will inspire a new activism. Might be naive. But in the meantime, I'm gonna try to do whatever I can. I gotta believe every little bit helps. Spread the word. Donate to @BLMNational , to @ACLU , to the @NAACP, to @PPact , to @swingleft. And call on the GOP as passionately as possible: impeach this loathsome misogynist racist."
It's fair to say that we can guess where he stands politically. I'd guess that if he were making a movie about Che Guevara, he'd gladly jam it with adoring images of Marxism.
He added that the focus of the film is Neil Armstrong, who is known—more than anything in his existence—as the man who planted the American flag. So that explanation is also a little hard to believe.
Then, Neil Armstrong's sons chimed on: "This story is human and it is universal. Of course, it celebrates an America achievement. It also celebrates an achievement "for all mankind," as it says on the plaque Neil and Buzz left on the moon. It is a story about an ordinary man who makes profound sacrifices and suffers through intense loss in order to achieve the impossible. … We do not feel this movie is anti-American in the slightest. Quite the opposite. But don't take our word for it. We'd encourage everyone to go see this remarkable film and see for themselves."
Fair enough. And, there is something to this. We run the risk of committing the same Outrage as the Left. But at the same time, it's not good to completely surrender to anti-American, anti-Western propaganda. We need to be able to call it out when we see it.
As I mention in Addiction to Outrage: "If we are to save our way of life, we must find our way back to what brought us all together in the first place. It is vital to understand that the Constitution didn't grant us these rights, it simply recognized, acknowledged, and codified their existence as a means to ensure everyone understood the government did not have the power or authority to deprive us of those things."
Their goal, which is distinctively Postmodern, is to strip all things of meaning. God, gender, nationality.
So much of Postmodernism resembles Circle 0 of Dante's Inferno, home to the Neutrals, those who never chose good or evil during life, who are so pathetic that they're waiting outside the gates of Hell for all eternity. They chase a "whirling banner" that can never contain meaning, disdainful of rules and order, and devoted to annihilation. Their goal, which is distinctively Postmodern, is to strip all things of meaning. God, gender, nationality.
Like the Postmodernists, the Neutrals have no regard for history. Neutrals stand beneath a blank flag. A flag is meant to be unique; it is an object emblematic "of allegiance and of loyalty." A flag, like the people and culture it symbolizes, has to stand for something.
There is no Postmodernism flag. It's a movement that actively avoids anything that would belong on a flag. To postmodernists, flags represent systemic oppression or outdated norms or corny solidarity. As such, postmodernism attacks the structures of society and reality. It seeks to obliterate all authority, at all costs, using lies and faked outrage.