Reppin’ it, &c.

Hero of the academy?


I was in a store, and a delivery man was jivin’ with a clerk. Another clerk had said that she (the first clerk) was Chinese, or Chinese-American. The delivery man said, “You’re not Chinese.” The clerk said, “Yes, I am.”

Then he said, “You don’t rep it [i.e., represent it]. You don’t act Chinese, you don’t speak Chinese, you don’t eat Chinese — you don’t rep it.”

This was mainly a lighthearted conversation, although there was an edge to it. And I thought, “Bless all those people who don’t want to ‘rep’ their race or ethnicity. Who are content merely to be a person.”

Anyway, this is a long discussion, about which many books have been written, and always will be, I suppose.

I was in a store — another store! — and saw a paper with a banner headline: Michelle Obama had “secretly” divorced her husband. The paper was the National Enquirer.

And I thought, “Kind of a pity that this paper was right, once — about John Edwards. But then they print this Martian-landing stuff. It was sort of confusing, their Edwards rightness.”

June 4 will mark the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. My friends at Initiatives for China have proposed a Global Prayer Day — a day of worldwide prayer for China. To read about it, go here.

Here is another bulletin from the group — about Lee Teng-hui, the former president of Taiwan. He is known as the father of Taiwanese democracy, or simply “Mr. Democracy.” He has joined the global-prayer idea. Now 91 years old, he says that the democratization of China — China itself — is one of the greatest wishes of his life.

Many times in this column, I have mentioned a criminal charge in Cuba — a charge on which a great many innocent people have been jailed (and subsequently tortured, etc.). That charge is “pre-criminal social dangerousness.” You have not done anything wrong, in the eyes of the Communists, yet. But something tells the Communists that you might.

I have always associated this charge, this concept, with Cuba. But I found something interesting in Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar, by Montefiore. In August 1937, Nikolai Yezhov, the secret-police chief, “decreed that children between one and three were to be confined in orphanages but ‘socially dangerous’ children between three and fifteen could be imprisoned ‘depending on the degree of danger.’”


I’d like to ask a question: On American faculties, which leader is more popular? George W. Bush or Fidel Castro?

Regular readers of this column are acquainted with Michael Gove, the British writer and politician — currently the secretary for education. I did a series on him earlier this month, in four parts (here, here, here, and here). The latest on him is that his critics, who tend to be nuts, have accused him of banning American books.

Gove, mind you, is just about the most America-loving human being in all of Britain.

And let me pause here to say that admiration for America cannot be assumed in a British conservative. British conservatism is rife with anti-Americanism, always has been. A lot of them could give the Guardian a run for its money. The anti-Americans tend to hate Israel too. That is a twin hatred (as well as a twin admiration, often).

In my series, I said how much I missed Gove as writer — as regular columnist. Well, he still exercises his pen now and then, as he did in this column: “Kill a Mockingbird? I’d never dream of it.” Usually, I’m unfond of punny headlines, but this one is nice. Plus, it responds, I believe, to one in the Guardian: “Michael Gove should not kill the Mockingbird.”

For the Gove column, go here. (For the Guardianista, here.)


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