Identity Politics does the Tournament of Roses Parade

For many years, Ms. Arendt and I have enjoyed watching the no-commercials broadcast of the Tournament of Roses (ToR) Parade on HGTV. But nothing stays the same. This year HGTV didn't cover it. All we could find was NBC (with that overexposed blowhard, Al Roker) or ABC. We went with ABC, whose commentators were just fine. The problem was all the commercial interruptions. At the end of the parade, there was a wrap-up montage that showed us we had missed many floats and bands due to the commercials. There were probably in excess of 30 minutes of commercials in a two hour broadcast. Well, c'est la T-vie.

But, what kept hitting us in the face was the identity politics of the parade. Perhaps I am old and out of touch, but it seemed like someone swapped out the lily-white WASP core of the ToR (which I never was too happy about) and replaced it with a bizarro world, identity politics parallel universe. I am all for fair representation of minorities, but this parade seemed to have gone completely overboard in the opposite direction. (This seems to be a theme this week, what with the cancellation of the Women's March in Eureka, CA. for being "too white". Identity politics: dividing us to unite us. LOL.

I would not at all be surprised to be attacked for this commentary by IdPol proponents on this site. So I might as well go all in.

As for the parade, Chaka Khan was grand marshal, and the opening extravaganza featured twerking dancers. I guess the IdPol message is that twerking brings a family and their young children together. It was highly touted that the ToR had elected its first black president, Gerald Freeny. He is also a cancer survivor - double identity politics points. In addition to Kahn and Freeny, there was an antique car, normally stuffed full of blue-haired WASP matrons and overweight Chamber of Commerce presidents, completely filled with black football stars and other black folks. (Again, I am all for fair representation, but this was strikingly abnormal for this parade. Perhaps, I'm just old. But, if a historically black event had this many white folks stuck into it, the IdPol crowd would be screaming "cultural appropriation".) Then, the always worthless window dressing of the Rose Queen, turns out to be LGBTQ and Jewish. She wore heavy eyeglass frames on the float, I suppose to burnish her hipster cred. At least this choice further diminishes the sexist concept of beauty queen.

All of that IdPol was on top of the usual depressing B-2 flyovers, patriotic floats, Marine bands, and embarrassingly amateurish floats from the schools playing in the Rose Bowl. Also depressing were the relentless announcements that the parade was sponsored by Honda and the incessant commercials for the same. The floats had more intrusive product placements than I've noticed before - including a rendition of a Carnival cruise ship, an insurance company working the plotline of its commercial series into its float, and a vineyard's float covered in their own wine bottles. The announcers mercifully stuck to describing the flowers instead of adding to the advertising barrage, although they kept pushing a new Disney version of Dumbo - now with better special effects. Puhleeze.

All things considered, watching this event on the mainline corporate media (a rare event for me), rather than the somewhat off-beat HGTV showed me just how blatant the identity politics propaganda has become.

Although I think that Jim Kuntsler jumped the shark a long time ago, I must close with his take on IdPol:

2018 was a low point for American culture, such as it is. The idiotic drivel emanating from the university campuses has infected the entire nation like a toxic shock disease. Most damaging, of course is the umbrella ideology of “multiculture” in a society that formerly thrived precisely because of the opposite of that: a common culture composed of ethics, customs, norms, and standards of decent behavior that people not insane could subscribe to. Remove the common culture of a nation and you will not have a nation — it’s that simple. Hence Americans are divided foolishly into battling identity groups who do not believe in a common culture and are doing everything possible to defeat it. They have no idea what E Pluribus Unum used to mean and they have no desire or intention to rediscover it. I return to the cardinal theme of The Long Emergency: that we can’t construct a coherent consensus about what is happening to us, and therefore we can’t make any coherent plans about what to do.

- Jim Kunstler: 2019, Ding! Ding! Margin Call USA

Share
up
0 users have voted.

Comments

A place predominantly white (74% according to your link) can't have a parade because it isn't diverse enough.

We should call on states like Vermont to leave the Union.

up
0 users have voted.

dfarrah

Centaurea's picture

@dfarrah

Some of the places that are most heavily invested in identity politics are also the most overwhelmingly white. I'm thinking of where I live now, the Pacific Northwest. I came here from the US South over 10 years ago, and I still find the lack of diversity here disconcerting.

As far as I am concerned, "identity politics" is not true, organic diversity. It's playing at it to score political points, often done by people who wouldn't know how to handle living in an actual "multi-cultural" environment.

up
0 users have voted.

"Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep."
~Rumi

"If you want revolution, be it."
~Caitlin Johnstone

arendt's picture

@Centaurea

Some of the places that are most heavily invested in identity politics are also the most overwhelmingly white. I'm thinking of where I live now, the Pacific Northwest.

'

Is it some kind of guilt trip? Or some kind of superiority complex?

I just don't get it.

up
0 users have voted.
Centaurea's picture

@arendt

I'm still trying to figure it out. I'm sure in many cases it's sincere and well-meaning. However, the PNW is generally neoliberal and pretty bureaucratized, which can crush the heart out of things.

up
0 users have voted.

"Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep."
~Rumi

"If you want revolution, be it."
~Caitlin Johnstone

Big Al's picture

used to mean something. Was it when 99% of the public was brainwashed enough to recite "The Pledge of Allegiance" every morning at school, or practice "Duck and Cover" drills thinking that would save them from a nuclear war? Or during the Jim Crow days, or how about Native Americans, what do they think of Kuntsler's idea of e pluribus Unum. Sounds a lot like the MAGA thing.

That said, I'm not necessarily disagreeing with what you're saying. The first thing I thought of was an embarrassing attempt by your racist neighbor, or Donald Trump, saying "I have a black friend! Sort of, well I know him". Taken together with the typical military emphasis and the corporate emphasis of these things, it's obviously all part of the brainwashing and manipulation of society by various elements.

Btw, I read Kuntsler's entire article and even though I don't agree with some things, he paints a pretty dismal picture for this year. Thanks for posting.

up
0 users have voted.
Big Al's picture

@Big Al "that we can’t construct a coherent consensus about what is happening to us, and therefore we can’t make any coherent plans about what to do."

That's the depressing part.

up
0 users have voted.
arendt's picture

@Big Al

Was it when 99% of the public was brainwashed enough to recite "The Pledge of Allegiance" every morning at school, or practice "Duck and Cover" drills thinking that would save them from a nuclear war?

For Kuntsler, who is clearly a member of the tribe that benefitted from the 1950s-1970s consensus that white America was E Pluribus Unum, the answer to your question is "yes".

To European, white, ethnic Americans of that era, the idea that Irish, Wasps, Italians, Germans, Polish, etc. could all respect each other and work towards a common goal (albeit that was beating the Japs and Germans to a pulp) was nothing short of revolutionary, given the constant ethnic warfare that prevailed in Europe and in immigrant-era America.

That those ethnics would have to share America with "those people" never occurred to them (and "them" probably includes Kunstler).

With that gigantic caveat, I'm willing to repeat Kuntsler's critique of IdPol.

up
0 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

Totally agree with this:

Mr. Mueller will depict a whole lot of nothing in the darkest possible light for the convenience of a house impeachment process, the holy grail of the Resistance, though the exercise is likely to fail if it gets to a senate trial.

But before that, there is the question of Mr. Mueller himself. My view is that Mr. Mueller has run a colossal cover-your-ass operation for the many documented misdeeds among the FBI and DOJ in cooking up this mess starting in the spring of 2016. His appointment in the first place was a gross error, considering his mentor relationship with James Comey and prior association with his putative supervisor, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. RR remains in that position despite being a witness in matters pending before Mr. Mueller (and other regulators such as federal prosecutor John Huber and DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz), including the FISA warrant scandal, the Uranium One deal, and the tortured doings of the Hillary Clinton and her foundation.

Democrats will waste more time on something that Mueller has spent two years on. Why do they need to redo his investigation? The republicans were investigating what Huber was supposed to be doing, but he hasn't even impaneled a grand jury to look into the FBI's investigation into Hillary ... and mean while the country continues its downward spiral.

Investi-Gate circus is a sure thing

Democratic chairs Gerald Nadler (Judiciary), Elijah Cummings (Oversight), and Adam Schiff (Intelligence) swarm the President and his associates like army ants on a drove of peccaries. They’ll haul in everybody and his uncle to keep the show going for their pals in the media.

Nail meets hammer!

The larger Russia hysteria, ginned up by the US “Intel Community” to cover the embarrassment of Hillary Clinton’s election loss, has destroyed the brains of thousands of Washington insiders and infected whole sectors of the educated coastal elites who really ought to know better.

As to the topic of the essay, I'm seeing people saying that Warren is being attacked because she is a woman just like Hillary was. When did start that if you were critical of any democrat you were some type of 'ist? After Obama became president? How silly is that?

up
0 users have voted.

It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

Roy Blakeley's picture

@snoopydawg He is purely a creature of the Deep State. He will deliver the result that is most favorable to the Deep State (i.e. against Trump and Russia) that can be sold to the American public. The problem seems to be that there is almost nothing to sell.

up
0 users have voted.
arendt's picture

@Roy Blakeley

he has been a "fixer" his entire career. Not only is he tangled up in Uranium One, but his fixing goes back to the days of Whitey Bulger.

up
0 users have voted.
dystopian's picture

It seemed far above and beyond what I am used to, at a notable level. I watched a bit of a livestream of KTLA local channel 5 off and on over an hour. It was in part, an ongoing advertisement for various companies. There has always been that aspect, but it seemed much more forced and pressed than before. It was like an entertain-mercial.

I especially liked the B-2 Bomber flyover at opening, when the famous lady announcer used the adjective "majestic" to describe the people killer. As if she were describing a Bald Eagle flying over. But it was a bomber. I love planes and in fact know them, as well as anyone this side of pilots, but the militarism glorified as majestic is a sad comment on our society.

up
0 users have voted.

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
both - Albert Einstein

Anja Geitz's picture

@dystopian

when the famous lady announcer used the adjective "majestic" to describe the people killer. As if she were describing a Bald Eagle flying over. But it was a bomber. I love planes and in fact know them, as well as anyone this side of pilots, but the militarism glorified as majestic is a sad comment on our society.

Apart from the people here on this blog along with the Buddhist practioners I chant with, I feel so very alone sharing this sentiment about our military among other fellow human beings.

up
0 users have voted.

There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

Anja Geitz's picture

@Anja Geitz

I've been to both the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade and the Tournament of Roses Parade, and while each of them is magnificent in their own unique way, there is something very special about being in the presence of the Rose Parade.

Perhaps my most memorable experience attending the Rose Parade happened completely by accident. I was visiting my Sister in Pasadena and decided to wake up early in the morning to look at the floats staged on Orange Grove Avenue. As I walked towards Colorado Avenue, parade officials began cordoning off parts of Orange Grove to pedestrian traffic. In a fluke of timing, they cut off the exit south of where I already was, leaving me no exit out of the parade route. Standing curbside, I looked behind me towards the people lined up on the sidewalk who had camped out overnight expecting someone to tell me to get the hell out of the way. But no one even noticed me standing there. So, with a shrug of my shoulders and no where else to go, I sat down on the curb waiting until someone came by to tell me I had to move. But no one did. So, as luck would have it, I managed to watch the entire Rose Parade pass by me a few feet away.

And what an awesome sight it was! So many colors, so many flowers, so many amazing floats passed so close in front of me, I could've actually reached out to touch them. I clapped along to the marching bands and waved at positively every one. I called out to the people on the floats wishing them all a happy new year and grinned like a fool. Unreal and fantastically marvelous, I was so giddy with excitement, I couldn't stop smiling for the rest of the day.

Most imaginative use of organic materials I saw that day? Whole avocados depicting the texture of alligators on a float from Florida.

Unforgettable experience.

up
0 users have voted.

There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

arendt's picture

@Anja Geitz

We always wanted to attend so that we could avoid all the TV commentary and experience the parade in person - and afterwards, to look at the floats up close and personal.

The reason today's broadcast made me so angry is that I take personally that they are trashing and exploiting a 130 year old piece of genuine American culture just to play a few more commercials and score a few more IdPol points.

up
0 users have voted.
Anja Geitz's picture

@arendt

The media is very good at twisting events like this and promoting whatever angle they decide will benefit their own agenda. Haven't watched broadcast television in almost 15 years. Now you know why.

Hope you do get an opportunity to see the Tournament of Roses Parade one day in person. It's a lovely pageant showcasing what human ingenuity can create with a little help from Southern California's natural bounty. Smile

up
0 users have voted.

There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

arendt's picture

@dystopian

civilians in places like Afghanistan.

It always was a sop to the "bomber pilot" Air Force. An obsolete the day it was built white elephant.

I completely agree that calling it "majestic" is an obscenity.

up
0 users have voted.
detroitmechworks's picture

@arendt

44.75 Billion Dollars. Officially.

For 21 of them. And most of it is "Classified", which is the DOD equivalent of "Trust me..."

up
0 users have voted.

I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

arendt's picture

@dystopian

I thought it was my lack of contact with the corporate media. But, if you also thought the marketing and advertising was way intrusive, I feel a little less out on a limb.

up
0 users have voted.
The Aspie Corner's picture

What's next, Wheelchair Imperialism? Oh, wait. Tammy Duckworthless already has that one covered. Idiots. All of them.

If these morons actually wanted to stop racism, sexism, et al., they would go after Imperialism. And capitalism. But since the pigs have co-opted every social movement, that's unlikely to happen.

up
0 users have voted.

Modern education is little more than toeing the line for the capitalist pigs.

Guerrilla Liberalism won't liberate the US or the world from the iron fist of capital.

arendt's picture

@The Aspie Corner

no one wants to help the handicapped. They just want to have a photo op with them.

up
0 users have voted.
The Aspie Corner's picture

@arendt I stand by it, especially when it comes to 'supported' employment. All that does is give some pig free labor for a few months. Sure, initially the boss might say that if we do well they'll hire us, but conveniently they never seem to have any room for us when the time comes.

up
0 users have voted.

Modern education is little more than toeing the line for the capitalist pigs.

Guerrilla Liberalism won't liberate the US or the world from the iron fist of capital.

edg's picture

The All-American tradition -- The Rose Bowl Parade. Brought to you by Japanese car company Honda.

up
0 users have voted.