If only Martin Amis could get over “being clearly shaken at being called a ‘racist'” and just say what he really thinks, without qualifications. But I suspect that, besides being a brilliant, complex fellow who can’t and won’t be pigeonholded, Amis, being a member of the literati, still wants to get invited to all the best parties…
This is a class thing. My working class family and friends back in Hamilton thought nothing of indulging in what I’ll call “pop anthropology”: making jokes and observations about various ethnic groups — exaggerated, harsh and unfunny to be sure, but stereotypes only flourish because they contain a grain of truth. It was quite common to see books in stores called “100 Newfie Jokes” or “Greatest Italian Jokes” (imagine that, my younger readers!)
And these observations were just that: observations, about people they’d actually encountered and whose behaviour was different than theirs.
Poor things. Not having gone to university, they’d missed the news that we are no longer supposed to trust our “lying eyes”, but were to rely solely on groundless theories about “race being a social construct”. (A theory that can’t explain, to name just two realities, sickle cell anemia and forensic facial reconstruction.)
Eventually their own children came back from school for Thanksgiving and scolded them into silence. Those children grew up and made such observations a crime, even if they were true.
“Amis says Steyn is ‘a great sayer of the unsayable’. Muslims are indeed reproducing at a faster rate than the rest of us, he says, and they will eventually outbreed us and become a majority: ‘One of the mathematical beauties of democracy is that you can look at the figures and be pretty sure how it’s going to fall out. It’s not PC. It’s so saturated in revulsions that people can’t go near it. [But] we should go near it… Just because there have been horrible abuses based on this [way of thinking] doesn’t mean that it’s not worth considering, or that it’s so radioactive that you don’t dare go near it. That is the defeat of reason.”
“I grimace. I loathe and detest Islamic fundamentalists just as much as Amis does — but this is going way beyond criticism of Islamic fundamentalism. It presents each new Muslim child as a problem. Amis concedes readily that Steyn ‘writes like a nutter’ and is ‘a very unstable kind of mind’, but quickly adds: ‘You’ve got to be able to talk about race… The hair-trigger sensitisation of this question is not rational, not healthy, not anything. It’s a fetish.”