This photograph of a looted Steinway shop in Philadelphia is full of symbolism.
That a piano shop should be targeted for righteous wrath is natural. With a little imagination classical music performed on Steinways can be easily seen as the distillation of white culture and therefore white oppression.
A Steinway is only half a step removed from another symbol of white supremacy, an overseer’s bullwhip at a cotton plantation. But even the Steinway family of tyrannical instruments isn’t homogeneous: racial distinctions exist there as well.
Thus it’s easy – nay, inevitable – to surmise that white Steinways, though less numerous, oppress black ones. Hence a white piano must be abused as a manifestation of commitment to justice and racial equality.
Then again, participants in that spontaneous reaction to what Democratic politicians are calling “an open season on blacks” came equipped with black, rather than white, spray paint. Hence it would have been a waste of good paint to write FUCK on a black piano. A white one provides a more natural canvas for that genre of artistic expression.
Sound like nonsense, doesn’t it? Yet this little vignette is the acme of reason compared to some of the statements made by the likes of Joe Biden and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey.
Displaying his well-documented oratorical skills, Joe drawled in a monotone unassisted by any facial expression: “Black lives are under threat every day.” And the good mayor contributed an unassailable insight: “Being black in America shouldn’t be a death sentence.”
An existential philosopher may argue that blacks aren’t unique in that respect. Everybody’s life is under threat every day, and each life ends in a death sentence, in this world at any rate.
But that’s not what those venerable gentlemen mean. They are suggesting that white people in general, and white policemen in particular, are homicidal maniacs out to kill blacks for fun.
This belief is an ideological sine qua non of the dominant ‘liberal’ ethos, and as such it’s impervious to any contrary facts. (I cited some yesterday.)
In the same vein, Black Lives Matter is a slogan, not a thought. One can argue against a thought, but slogans are argument-proof.
What are you going to say? That all lives matter? That specifically black lives are mostly lost to black violence? That when a black criminal is shot by a policeman (white or black), it’s usually the criminal who either fires first or is about to? That a lot more policemen are killed by black criminals than vice versa? Don’t – anything you say can be used against you, as proof of inveterate racism.
Also, the riots are a good time to score political points off Trump. Professional Trump haters can now draw on volunteer amateur support.
The president is accused of being divisive, saying and doing all the wrong things. Now I do find Trump an unpleasant and vulgar man. That, however, doesn’t mean he can do no right.
He’s trying, rightly, to elicit a tough response to violence from individual states, involving the National Guard and the army, if need be. “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” Trump said, to thunderous gasps in all the usual quarters.
Instead, they claim, he should reason with the rioters, try to understand their concerns, pour balm on their bleeding hearts. So what should he say to the scum who looted the Steinway shop? “You are right in principle, if not in every detail”?
And how should justice be served in the Floyd case? After all, it’s not all white Americans who killed Floyd, but just one of them – and he’s going to prison.
So what do they think a proper president would do? Tell policemen not to shoot black criminals, even as they are cocking their guns? Ideally not to arrest them at all? Ban kneeling on black people’s throats? But cops already know that, and the one who didn’t may never come out of prison.
Trump is also accused of hypocrisy. He’s talking tough, but he ran to his bunker like a rank coward when justice-seekers appeared to be attacking the White House.
Those who say that are ignorant of basic Secret Service protocol, or rather pretend to be. When a president is perceived to be in danger, Secret Service agents have authority over him. They don’t ask him if he wants to go down to the bunker; they tell him to go. And if he won’t, they are authorised to drag him there kicking and screaming.
If firing at looters is the only way to prevent American cities from turning into an inferno, then I say don’t spare the ammunition. Trump obviously understands this, even though he can’t say so in as many words. Anyway, so far the shooting hasn’t started, which is why Steinway pianos are being thrown out of the windows of vandalised shops.
The less violent but more emetic aspect of the riots is their attendant dianafication of the world, if you’ll pardon the neologism. Morons of the world are united in going down on one knee to signal their virtue. This response is mandated by the ‘liberals’ and inculcated into many a susceptible mind.
In Britain such practices go back to the death of Diana, which everyone was ordered to mourn visibly and vociferously on pain of ostracism. When the Queen reacted to the tragedy with her usual dignified restraint, the mob outside Buck House brayed: “Ma’am, show us you care!!!”
If police had descended on that mob with truncheons, I would have cheered – as I now cheer for the American police, the National Guard and perhaps the army.
Show the scum, so they understand, that you care for justice, order and social tranquillity. And for Steinway pianos, come to that.