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