With Ellie Kemper, the woke mob claims another scalp

Before last week, I'd never heard of Ellie Kemper.  I still have only the vaguest idea of who she is, although I'm pretty clear that she's a TV actress.  Also, when she was 19, she won a debutante beauty contest in St. Louis, Missouri, at a society that, 122 years before, had been founded by former Confederates.  On Monday, Kemper bowed to the mob and apologized for her appalling ignorance in being a teen debutante.  On the one hand, her apology was a victory for the despicable social justice warriors; on the other hand, this kind of pettiness has to be a turnoff for even marginally rational people.

The story broke on June 1.  Ellie Kemper, who's now 41, made her name on TV in The Office and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.  She's apparently a talented comedian.  Before Hollywood, though, she had the temerity, the unmitigated gall, to grow up in comfortable circumstances among the old money in Missouri.

For those unversed in American history, although the Civil War ended in 1865, it continued to play out in Missouri, one of the border states to the war.  The whole drama of Jesse James and his bloody bandits, all of whom fought for the Confederacy, had a lot to do with ongoing retribution for wartime allegiances.

In 1877, Charles Slayback, a former Confederate cavalryman and one of St. Louis's rich and famous, decided to create a secret society, which ended up being the Veiled Prophet Organization.  To no one's surprise, considering the time and place, it had a color bar: Whites only, including young women who attended the debutante ball and vied for the title of Queen of Love and Beauty.

According to an Atlantic article, the whole point of the society was to confirm White dominance.  That could be true — or it could be that, to modern historians, everything has to do with racism, so the ordinary racism of the time was elevated to something more meaningful in a historian's retelling.

Here's the important thing, though: a long, long time ago, probably sometime around the Civil Rights era in the 1960s, the society ceased to have a color bar, since those bars were illegal.  And in 1999, the pretty, well connected Kemper became the Queen of Love and Beauty.  In a sane world, no one cares, except that it's a cute, rather silly story.

In today's America, Tatiana Tenreyro, an exceptionally nasty bit of work, wrote a story for AV Club attacking Kemper for daring to have been born wealthy and, worse, for having been a 19-year-old debutante in an organization that once was racist.  Aside from Tenreyro's crude language, note the dishonesty by which she conflates the debutante ball's racist past and innocent present:

You may have noticed Ellie Kemper was trending on Twitter. She's not dead. So she must've done something really amazing, right? Wrong! Turns out Kimmy Schmidt isn't as inoffensive as she seems. A picture began circulating on Twitter showing Kemper as the Queen Of Love And Beauty at the Fair Saint Louis in 1999. You might be wondering what's so wrong about being crowned queen of some ball. Well, the Fair Saint Louis was previously known as the Veiled Prophet Ball and it is racist as f---.

Remember how people used to talk about the "gutter press"?  What Tenreyro did is lower than that.  Maybe the cesspool press?

Anyway, the internet went crazy, with "KKK Princess" trending against Kemper.  On Monday, Kemper responded predictably, with a grovel on Instagram, in which she apologized for something that wasn't wrong when she did it and as to which she was not guilty of any wrongdoing:

Everything was there: the buzzwords ("racist," "sexist," "elitist"); the denigration of her own talent and hard work ("I acknowledge that because of my race and my privilege, I am the beneficiary of a system that has dispensed unequal justice and unequal rewards"); the confession of wrongdoing ("I realized that a lot of the forces behind the criticism are forces that I've spent my life supporting and agreeing with"); the promise that she's learned from the experience; and her further promise to "use my privilege" for societal welfare.  (I think that means sending a check to BLM, but I'm not sure.)

All in all, a successful shakedown — except that Ellie Kemper is a nothing in the Hollywood hierarchy.  I know this because, even though I don't watch these shows, I read the Daily Mail.  That means I know who matters and who doesn't.  (Yeah, sad but true.)

Bringing Kemper down is like boasting that you managed to get fired the assistant secretary to the under-secretary of the deputy to the park commissioner fired.  It's like a pro boxer savagely attacking a kindergartner.  In other words, it's not a prestige act, nor is it a good look.

Ordinary people are feeling sickened by the vicious rancor the left is showing and by the fact that it keeps organizing screaming little mobs to attack increasingly ordinary people (and Kemper is, well, pretty ordinary).  It was one thing when the rich and famous, who made themselves targets and were often kind of jerky, got caught in the woke mob's crosshairs.  It's another thing to realize that Kemper is close enough to you that you may be next.

Image: Ellie Kemper as a debutante.

If you experience technical problems, please write to helpdesk@americanthinker.com