LeVar Ball Is Satirizing Identity Politics (whether He Knows It or Not)
Progressives are desperate to Do Something about LaVar Ball, because his publicity bonanza has exacted a high price from the Left. In multiple ways. That’s why they’re playing the race card already, and portraying Trump as in the wrong (as he always must be in their world).
First of all, President Trump is being victimized (as in dissed) after doing a genuine good deed. Every normal human being feels sympathy for him, which leaves the left feeling lonely and angry. But it gets worse. Much worse.
Nobody will admit it, but the performance artist names LaVar Ball is satirizing the very philosophical roots of progressivism. They are the butt of the joke, and they don’t get it yet.
President Trump, we must never forget, was the master of reality television. He understands the dramatic possibilities of a clash of personalities played out on a screen. For two generations, the left has used its mastery of the media to reinforce dramatic narratives unfavorable to their political enemies. President Trump is giving them a taste of their own medicine.
LVB already made a name for himself in the sports media as a publicity hound, but now is into Kardashian territory, purportedly already besieged with offers from reality TV producers. He has become infamous, a household name, because he is a clown, spouting nonsense so stupid that even Chris Cuomo laughs at it.
But the truth that nobody dares face is that Ball is only slightly more stupid than many on the left in his unwillingness to credit President Trump for anything good that he accomplishes.
Most recently, President Trump pulled off a masterful and historic trip to East Asia, getting almost no credit for it for huge diplomatic achievements, massive orders for American goods (and jobs), and a triumphal reception in Beijing – the first foreign head of state honored with a dinner in the Forbidden City in the history of the regime. This is the same man that everyone in the establishment said was going to ruin our foreign relations and make us a diplomatic laughingstock.
The answer to this problem, of course, was fake news. CNN broadcast video edited so as to create the bogus impression that the POTUS impulsively and gracelessly violated protocol by dumping an entire box of fish food into a koi pond in Japan, when in fact he was following his host’s lead (complete video here).
How is this less clownish than a man refusing to thank the President who took time away from grave matters of state to rescue his son from many years of imprisonment overseas?
LaVar Ball is, after all, the very embodiment of ingratitude on an offensive scale. It does not play well with normal people to refuse to thank someone who has done an extraordinary service with profoundly positive results. But the Left is committed to twin beliefs that make this response appropriate:
- President Trump is a racist who can do nothing good;
- America is a polity that runs not on liberty, but on victimization.
The corollary is that those who qualify as victims – especially due to race and gender -- must be sanctified as beyond reproach, while others less blessed with victimhood privilege might suffer the indignity of rebuke for outrageous behavior.
Then there is the little problem of the season. Once upon a time, before identity politics, and therefore a victimization narrative, became the Democrats’ strategy, both parties celebrated the blessings of independence and liberty on Thanksgiving Day. But these days, grievances are the engine of empowerment for Democrats, so gratitude toward the opportunities provided by liberty and a free-ish market is unfashionable.
That logic, taken to its extreme, is personified by LVB. That is why he qualifies as a performance artist. He is reflecting back on itself the logic of progressivism, but in comic form. His incoherence is theirs, just as his shunning of the attitude of gratitude reflects back on progressives’ attitude toward Trump and the American Constitution that put him in office. If you doubt me, view the video here of now-famous SJW Edith Macias screaming “I f**king hate this country!” after stealing a fellow student’s MAGA cap. Far from being denounced for that attitude, she is garnering support among progressives. If anyone has seen a progressive demand that her political violence be punished, please note it in the comments section.
Whether he intends it or not, there is genius in LVB’s satire. The lonely way race figures into his act is that progressives are scared away from criticizing him because he is black. The act would work well with a performer of any race, but only an African American or maybe a Hispanic would have as good a shield against incoming fire from the butts of the joke.
The resulting fury, naturally, is turned back against President Trump. This is par for the course among the deranged, this projection of one’s own problems onto others. Trump Derangement Syndrome is an actual widespread mental disorder.
As you will see below, they are deliberately trolling for support in erasing ingratitude from the conversation, obliterating it in the fires of racial indignation.
Still, a foolish man, endowed with riches thanks to the talents of others spouting nonsense in support of ingratitude, is deeply offensive, especially as the nation prepared to celebrate its festival of gratitude, Thanksgiving Day.
The promise of the preamble of the Constitution to “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity” must be seen as a bad joke, considering that America tolerated slavery at the time those words were written. The mandatory ingratitude, however, extends to every demographic slice, because capitalism victimizes everyone, and a free market economy is the deepest enemy of the Left, because it enables people to better themselves without the intervention of the state.
The progressive agenda requires that Trump’s criticism of Ball be neutralized, and so the day before Thanksgiving they rolled out the big guns to pronounce that racism! Is the problem here. For pseudo-intellectual patina, trot out Marc Lamont Hill to deploy the tired “racial dog whistle” (audible only to progressives) bomb:
“It feels like a racial dog whistle. The entire time there’s an undertone of, 'You should be grateful to me,' you know, 'These uppity black people.' And this isn’t just because of LaVar Ball, it starts with the NFL where he talks about these highly paid athletes who should be grateful to be in the NFL. This discourse keeps recurring and it seems to be directed largely at black people. Let me be clear, Donald Trump is an equal opportunity jerk when it comes to celebrities. I mean, he goes after Meryl Streep, he goes after everybody. But when it comes to athletes in particular, there's a sense of 'You should be grateful.' This is narcissistic, this is arrogant, this is bizarrely unprofessional and unpresidential, but there is also racial undertone to this that's really disturbing."
(all transcripts via Gabien)
There are plenty of pols eager to jump in, and we’ll get to one below. But first, watch as CNN’s Jim Sciutto openly steers the conversation, suggesting “a racist undertone” to Rep. Debbie Dingell (who has spoken out against John Conyers), and is rewarded with an “I wonder.”
SCIUTTO: “Our top story, the president of the United States goes on a predawn Twitter rant, stepping up his feud with the father of a UCLA basketball player and the NFL as well. We’re back with democratic congresswoman Debbie Dingell of Michigan. I want to reference back to one of these predawn tweets this morning targeting lavar ball, the father of one of the three UCLA basketball players. The essence of it, one, the president claiming victory here. It was me in all caps there that got him out. And calling lavar ball a poor man’s version of Don King and then later an ungrateful fool. Are you shocked by those comments?”
DINGELL: “I’m not shocked because it’s President Trump twittering. But I wish he had better things to do. This is ridiculous. We’ve got so many serious problems facing this country. I’d like to see him focus on some of the more serious problems and I don’t have a lot to say about the person who is attacking the president either.”
SCIUTTO: “There is a commonality to the president’s targets often. And you’ll hear this from African-American commentators and others, but the president uses phrases here ungrateful pool, a poor man’s version of Don King, talking about the father of a UCLA basketball player. Do you see a racist undertone?”
DINGELL: “There are times that you wonder. But it isn’t just towards — I’ve heard his language that is not inclusive or respectful of women, but, I mean, I’m a woman. So I hear it when I’m a woman. I think the president tends to not be as respectful as I would like to see him be, or, quite frankly, that the president of the United States should be to all Americans.”
SCUITTO: “We — you have and others have been aggressively, understandably so, calling out sexual harassment by sitting politicians. Should you be doing the same with the president’s — what appear to be racist messages here. Dog whistles or bullhorns, depending on how you see it.
DINGELL: “I think a lot of Democrats have been calling out the — I’m actually married to the twittering king who has been doing a lot of twittering on some of the behavior. People aren’t listening sometimes when people are responding to it. I think we all — you know what I ask for for this Thanksgiving? We all take a deep breath and are civil.”
>> That this country has been divided by fear and hatred in this last year and we focus far more on what divides us than unites us and I think the president himself is guilty of that. This Thanksgiving, everyone come together. Talk politics but take a deep breath and don’t say the first thing that is salt in a wound but talk about what you agree on.
>> I’m going to join you in that. Not much to ask, is it. Debbie Dingell, thanks so much for taking the time and a happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.
>> Thank you
No such reticence from Rep. John Garamendi from Northern California, who “absolutely” sees a dog whistle:
SCIUTTO: “I want to turn to the president’s tweets this morning. I’m sure you’re aware of them right now. Calling lavar ball an ungrateful fool, a poor man’s Don King without the hair. As you read a tweet like this, do you see dog whistling here?”
GARAMENDI: “Absolutely. There is no doubt. He’s been going after African-Americans in many, many ways. And minorities generally. In fact, he started his campaign for president going after minorities. In that case, Mexican nationals here in the United States, as well as Mexican — people of Mexican origin that will be have been here forever. He took on a federal judge. It goes on and on. One minority after another. Right now he’s focussing on African-Americans, obviously the football players protesting by not standing for the national anthem. Protest is a tradition in America but the president seems to be focussed now on African-Americans, previously on others.”
And you knew that this article couldn’t ignore Chris Matthews. For him, logic dictates that there is only one possible explanation, Because, ya’ know, progressives are so smart. Here are his mental powers on display with columnist A.B. Stoddard. It’s over 4 minutes long.
MATTHEWS: Yeah, exactly! A.B., I think if the guy had the intention of sparking up a feud that would make him on the level of the president of the united States, he pulled it off! And the fact that president Trump understands what the guy was up to, he compared him to Don King, one of the great promoters of all time in boxing, he knew what the guy was up to, and he played his game. I don’t get this? Why does he want to have a — unless there’s a race piece to this, where he wants to have tan African-American opponent wherever he can find one. That would be another way of looking at it. Your thoughts?
>> Well, there’s a couple of aspects to this. One, President Trump is energized by grievance and by fighting. So that’s just — if someone throws him some bait, he’s going to come at it. Number two, as Jonathan points out, this guy is a provocateur and a self-promoter. And if you watched the entire interview the other night, he’s a serious jerk. So it provided — it’s not only that President Trump takes the bait, but he became a good sort of foil for the president, because the president is really tryingyou know, as he tweeted again about NFL players, sort of speak to the sense to his voters that these are privileged, entitled athletes and they’re doing the wrong thing. And so if you — if you have the combination of the culture war over NFL players, and this guy who sort is willing to set off President Trump and be really rude about it, it was kind of the perfect storm, right? And then at the same time, President Trump has a theme that we’ve heard often. Even back to the campaign before. He was a president, that he doesn’t get enough credit for things. And he likes to be given credit for things. And so, he anticipated that he wouldn’t be thanked by the basketball players. Remember the tweet from a week ago, I bet they don’t even thank me. Then they thanked him, he sort of calmed down, and we’re back where we are. I really hope that father ball doesn’t continue this feud, because Donald Trump will stay with it.
>> The president also re-tweeted a london-based pro-trump broadcaster who took a swipe at Mr. Ball and Hillary Clinton. The trump supporter wrote, “The ungratefulness is something I’ve never seen before. If you get someone’s son out of prison, he should be grateful to you, period. I don’t care. If Hillary got my kid out of prison, as much as I hate the woman, I.D. Thank her corrupt —“ well, you fill in the bank. Jonathan, this does seem to be — it does seem to be the president’s wheelhouse. If you take the take the knee fight, the statue fight, he does want to aggravate this ethnic fight we have in this country and widen the gap as wide as he can get it that day. That day, he wants it to be wide.
>> Look, Chris, to pick up on what A.B. Was talking about, this isn’t just a fight with privileged athletes or privileged NFL players. This is the president of the United States, who always seems to find time to pick fights with African-Americans. That we cannot look away from the race angle that’s at play here. The president, for one reason or another, things that, and we’ve seen it work, that his base likes the fact that he is standing up to people, who they think are benefiting from a system that’s been rigged against them. And that what better way to feed, to stoke that grievance that A.B. Was talking about, and I agree 100%, but what better way to stoke that grievance than to pick a fight with African-Americans, whether they’re African-American men who may or may not be jerks like lavar ball, or like Colin Kaepernick’s who’s taking a knee and standing on a principle, or jahmell hill who had so-called The president, for one reason or another, things that, and we’ve seen it work, that his base likes the fact that he is standing up to people, who they think are benefiting from a system that’s been rigged against them. And that what better way to feed, to stoke that grievance that A.B. Was talking about, and I agree 100%, but what better way to stoke that grievance than to pick a fight with African-Americans, whether they’re African-American men who may or may not be jerks like lavar ball, or like Colin Kaepernick’s who’s taking a knee and standing on a principle, or jahmell hill who had so-called the temerity to criticize the president of the United States. the temerity to criticize the president of the United States. This works for his base. But unfortunately what works for his tiny base is really horrible and detrimental to the rest of us in the United States.
>> It’s so rich that he mentioned Don King. The ultimate promoter of boxing fights. Here’s trump, who loves to be promoted. He promotes himself, in fight after fight after fight, to keep his core together.
>> And Don King is a friend, supposedly, of Donald Trump’s. But obviously, the tweet was incredibly personal, incredibly ugly, and he called him an ungrateful fool. And that’s why I’m worried that lavar ball will punch bag.
>> Okay, great. Remember what P.T. Barnum said, if you want a crowd, start a fight. Trump does it every day, he starts a fight, and we pay attention to him, unfortunately. Thank you, A.B. Stoddard, happy Thanksgiving and also to my friend, longtime buddy, Jonathan Capehart. Thank you, sir.