The Falling Leaf Review is managed as a critical journal, and the writing is in the tradition of essay writing as inherited through a nearly five hundred year old legacy begun with Montaigne. I don’t want to debate the merits of this tradition, nor do I want to defend Western Civilization as it seems to be in need of defending. There are, as there have been for decades now, enough diatribes and tirades against this Civilization, even to the extent that there have been enough academics who have questioned if there ever was an historical thing called Western Civilization. Western Civilization not only needs a strong defense but deserves a passionate one to address appropriately just how much virulent critical resentment it has received from inside and outside the Academy. Let us make no mistake that there are many in academia who resent the intellectual, artistic and literary traditions of Western Civilization, all in an attempt to wrest hegemony away from what they used to call white male dominance in learning, something they used to assert was the only reason we raised Shakespeare to the heights he had achieved (or was it the heights he had been given?). We are faced with another crisis in civilization, as they have been repeated around the world across time (is that then history?). There is no need to ask me if I think history is progressive; you might as well ask me if I think the ocean is progressive. Neither is.
The Falling Leaf Review is not outside the traditions I have alluded to herein. It is a defender of this tradition which gives it the intellectual impetus to be the critical journal it is, to levy the critiques it does against the structures and dynamics of power. And it is this critique of power as power in itself power as opposed to the People, and not power as power not multicultural enough, that this review takes seriously and insists is necessary. So, let us not equivocate. There needs to be more literary reviews such such as The Falling Leaf Review. This need comes from the fact that many from the fore mentioned camps of resentment have lessened or loosened their critiques once they have made headway in the Academy, one of the principal reasons we have assessed that all former criticism of the culture and the civilization from camps of resentment were not based on the necessity for their critical responses but resentment that they were not participating in the hegemony from the hierarchy. It never was about democracy, liberty, or addressing power as power, or the extent at which power’s dynamics of control have tentacled their way through our society. The only problem with power as perceived from any of the camps of resentment in the new push toward hegemony was that it was not multicultural.
Let’s not address the social evils of greed, both personal and institutional, but let’s lament that this greed is in fact not more multicultural. Let us not address the problem of prostitution, but instead let us make sure that prostitutes are representative of all ethnicities and races. Let’s not address the problems of power as power against the People, only that we need more African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians and women in the power structure set against the People. Perhaps African American People will accept a reaming from power if there are enough African Americans in the power elite. Everyone to his familiar devil. Satan does not come to a devout Catholic woman in the garb of a Rabbi, but in the vestments of a Priest.
Does anyone imagine that formerly oppressed, repressed or socially excluded people are likely to manage power more even handedly or less corruptly? How could any thinking person imagine such? This is not likely, nor is it consistent with either history or human psychology. This is not a reactionary view insisting on a return to white hegemony, but a critique that power has remained the same, only now it wears different masks. This exchange of the masks that power wears is behind our critiques of the Obama Presidency as an unintended and unwilling form of Minstrel Show. Yes, Obama’s Presidency is the Power Elite wearing black face, making power appear more benign by presenting a face we would not likely suspect was a mask covering the grimace of power. This does mean that everyone African American who advances socially does so for some manipulative purpose by power and for power. It is also not to say that all African Americans should be part of the eternal Left’s critique.
What remains of interest to us is that oftentimes once anyone from any of the fore mentioned groups has received critical attention that used to be reserved only for white males or whites, he or she falls right in line with the power dynamics. Power remains powerful as power has always been managed powerfully against the People; it is now more nearly representative of our ethnic and racial diversity. But power has not changed, and collateral with how more multicultural power has become, our liberties have waned. It seems, for example, the only criticism against Police using power and authority against the people comes not because it is power acting powerfully, but because it is doing so against African-Americans. There is no outrage from the African American community when the police shoot a white man or hispanic or asian in like circumstances when an African American is shot by the police. The police still shoot unarmed white men at a rate greater than they do African Americans and there might be statistics that show something revelatory about comparisons made between when Hispanics shot and when African Americans are shot. Are African American males between 15 and 25 more likely to commit felonious assault against a police officer than white males of the same age? Are they more likely to flee when put under arrest–and arrest means stop; to be told to stop and freeze is to be put under arrest. Not to comply is a felony. We do not know because no one has asked. Do felony rules apply to white males, but should not to black males because we must understand that black males have a different reality?????? When the police shoot a white man Is the response from African Americans, perhaps, good? We do not know. But the assumption is that if Eric Garner were white, he would not be dead. We insist that if Eric Garner had been white, the case never would have gone to grand jury. Is it accurate for some to think that If the man in South Carolina had been white, the police officer would not have been charged with murder? This is not to assume that there is no reason to investigate the incidents–and do not tell me the video tells everything because it does not. The video from South Carolina picks up in the middle, just as the Eric Garner video did not show that he had already been put under arrest and that the video showing him monologuing only proved he was resisting arrest which is a class six felony.
We would rather feel than think, emote than reason, accept the framing of sensationalism than discern the facts. Eric garner slapped a police officer’s hand away from him–felony. No one was going to assume anything I have said here, nor are they going to accept them because the assertions made herein by our staff contradict what people want to feel (not think), what they have been conditioned to feel by the dissemination of images and sound bites. Our assertions are contrary to the reflexes that the mallet of a sensationalizing media elicits. Could the police officers responded differently? Perhaps they could have; but when they do not against white men there is no response, no outrage, even disbelief that this happens and has been happening at a greater rate of increase for white men than for black men–the message sent to me is that White Lives Do not Matter.
One of the most reinforced received ideas in our culture perpetuated by the mainstream media is that we are an endemically racist society. Is the question ever asked Are African-American males between 15 and 25 less likely not to comply with police commands because they might be raised not to respect the police or the establishment–with viable historical references? We say what we do about our society–we hear African American responses to how the police act and react and then we disallow ourselves to believe that anyone conditioned to think as we hear in one tirade or Jeremiad after another about the police, that African American males are nothing but compliant when put under arrest????????????
No one should assume there are not many reasons historically evident that support the hesitation African American males feel when questioning what response they should have when asked to comply with arrest. There are many responses police can have within the law (as the law reads without respect to or for the race or ethnicity or creed of the suspect) that do not always have to have happened. My father was a beat cop on Fulton Street in Brooklyn New York and he had pulled his revolver out of its holster twice, neither time firing his weapon. Can a justifiable shoot also be a shoot that did not have to happen? The thing my father was most proud of during his years as a police officer was the fact that he had never fired his weapon. Could my father justifiably fired his weapon the two times he drew his revolver (and you cannot peel off 8 rounds with a revolver the way you can with a 9mm)? The answer is, Yes. If my father had fired his weapon each time; it would have been a good shoot. If the perpetrator had died, it would have been justifiable homicide. This is not part of the dialogue. We are only concerned for the fact that the perpetrators in the incidents were African American; we are not concerned for the law and how it reads and whether the laws need to be adjusted for all, but that they only need to be modified for African-Americans. The focus is wrong. The tribal nature of the critiques that come from anyone who used to be outside the parameters of hegemony or outside the mainstream is an impediment to furthering democracy. It is part of a Machiavellian effect socially. Why we cannot see it has everything to do with how the media in America is managed.
Let us not forget that when fascism comes to America it will come in the form of Americanism and that that Americanism today is multicultural and diverse.