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LIBERAL MOTTO: SPEAK LOUDLY, AND CARRY A SMALL VICTIM
Liberals always have to be the victims, particularly when they are oppressing others. Modern victims aren’t victims because of what they have suffered; they are victims of convenience for the Left. There’s no way to determine if an action is offensive by looking at the action. One must know who did it to whom, and whose side the most powerful people in America will take. Republican senator Trent Lott committed a hate crime when he praised former segregationist Strom Thurmond at a birthday party, but a year later, Democratic senator Chris Dodd did nothing wrong when he praised a former Ku Klux Klanner, Senator Robert Byrd—who was also a sort of “community organizer.”
Playing the game of He Who Is Offended First Wins, the key to any political argument is to pretend to be insulted and register operatic anger. Liberals are the masters of finger-wagging indignation. They will wail about some perceived slight to a sacred feeling of theirs, frightening people who have never before witnessed the liberals’ capacity to invoke synthetic outrage. Distracted by the crocodile tears of the liberal, Americans don’t notice that these fake victims are attacking, advancing, and creating genuine victims.
Just as we’re always told that schoolyard bullies are actually deeply insecure, liberals rationalize their own ferocious behavior by claiming to have been wounded somehow. What about the little guy our poor, insecure bully is beating the living daylights out of? How’s his self-esteem coming along? That is the essence of liberals: They viciously attack everyone else, while wailing that they are the victims.
Liberals’ infernal habit of accusing others of what they themselves are doing distracts attention from who is really being attacked. No one is victimized by a mouse: Real victims are those who are called the oppressors by the powerful. Just as Nazi mythology made ordinary working Germans believe they were victims of Jewish oppressors—in order to oppress the Jews—today’s media-certified victims are the true oppressors, and the alleged aggressors are the real victims. To find the authentic victims in most situations, one can simply refer to the people the mainstream media urge us to hate, beasts such as George Bush, the Duke lacrosse players, Joe McCarthy, Jesse Helms, Tom DeLay, the Swift Boat Veterans, and Sarah Palin. But often the victims are nameless, faceless victims of repellent liberal policies that are promoted on behalf of counterfeit victims, such as single mothers or “the poor.” Media-anointed victims inevitably create actual victims who became so the old-fashioned way: They earned it.
Fake victims have become so crucial to liberal argument that you need a pathos-meter to follow politics in modern America. Every policy proposal is launched or opposed on the stories of victims. When Senator Hillary Clinton sought more federal money for New York City in 2007, she made a big show of attending Bush’s January 2007 State of the Union Address with the son of a New York City police officer, Cesar A. Borja, who had died that very day of a rare lung disease he had allegedly acquired from working “16-hour shifts” at the World Trade Center after the 9/11 attacks.
The New York Daily News had told the tear-jerking story of Cesar Borja a few weeks earlier in an article claiming that “when the twin towers fell,” Borja “rushed to ground zero and started working long days there.” Now he was dying of a rare lung disease, a result, the Daily News suggested, of his having “volunteered to work months of 16-hour shifts in the rubble, breathing in clouds of toxic dust.”1
Senator Hillary Clinton seized on the 9/11 victim’s story, parading Officer Borja’s twenty-one-year-old son at the State of the Union Address. She even sent President Bush a letter—made available to the press—inviting him to meet Officer Borja’s son, at the same time requesting more federal funding for New York’s emergency workers. The federal money allocated thus far, she said, was “only a down payment in repaying our debt to those who came to assist us in our hour of need.” She asked the president to “honor” Officer Borja’s memory and those who had “lost loved ones as a result of the 9/11 attacks.”2
Bush met with Officer Borja’s son and agreed to the additional federal funding for those suffering nonspecific health problems related to the 9/11 attack. Senator Clinton then released another letter noting “our responsibility to take care of those who took care of us”—those who, she said, “selflessly risked their lives and their health at Ground Zero.”3
Then it turned out the story of Officer Borja’s glorious heroism on 9/11 was a complete hoax. Borja had not “rushed” to the disaster site after the attack. He only started working there, directing traffic, near the end of December 2001, by which time much of the rubble had been cleared away. He was not a volunteer—this was his job. Indeed, the only reason he was working sixteen-hour days was to boost his pension just before he retired. In all, Borja had worked seventeen days at the World Trade Center, most of them in 2002.4 Borja retired in June 2003 and did not begin to develop pulmonary fibrosis until 2005. There were other possible explanations for his rare lung disease, such as his pack-a-day cigarette habit until five or six years before the 9/11 attack.5 Officer Borja had done nothing dishonorable, but he had not selflessly risked his life at Ground Zero, as Hillary Clinton claimed in order to beg for more taxpayer money for New York City.
Asked about its make-believe reporting on Borja’s undaunted heroism, the Daily News observed that “the paper had never explicitly said Officer Borja had rushed there soon after Sept. 11, only that at some point he had rushed there.”6 No matter—he had served his purpose and New York City got its federal funding.
All the Left’s seminal imagery keeps turning out to be a hoax.
daddy was diving repeatedly into ground zero—when he was nowhere near the place. The New Republic’s “Baghdad Diarist” told sickening tales about the brutish behavior of American troops in Iraq—and then he signed an affidavit admitting he made it all up. John Edwards was the loyal husband to his cancer-stricken wife—except it turned out he was carrying on an extended affair with Rielle Hunter.
The Democrats dredge up victim after victim, but it’s hard to find one real story. Why do liberals keep coming up with hoaxes for our edification? Time and again, liberals transform themselves into chaste Victorian virgins fainting over the suffering of their victim du jour—but then the facts come out, and liberals react like Emily Litella on Saturday Night Live: “Never mind.”
You know you’ve really made it in America when the Left weeps for you. But this much-sought-after victim status is evanescent, lasting only as long as the fake victim’s bellyaching advances the liberal agenda. Poor, long-suffering Valerie Plame, Joe Wilson, Scott Ritter, Cindy Sheehan, the Jersey Girls, Scott McClellan—all putative victims of the Republicans—weep alone these days. The liberal establishment has moved on.
It’s so popular to be a victim in modern American society that people are constantly faking their own hard-luck stories—and not just in the “personal statement” essay in their Harvard applications. Among the recent hoax memoirs was one in 2008 by “Margaret B. Jones” called Love and Consequences: A Memoir of Hope and Survival. Jones claimed to be a half-white, half–Native American girl who grew up in a foster home in South Central Los Angeles, raised by an African American mother. She said she ran drugs for the Bloods in the middle of the deadly crack wars of the 1980s, losing her foster brother to the gang wars. Jones gave interviews using an urban black patois, referring to her fellow gang members as her “homies.” In her book she passed on urban wisdom, such as “Trust no one. Even your own momma will sell you out for the right price or if she gets scared enough.”
But then it turned out Margaret Jones was really Peggy Seltzer, a suburban Valley Girl, who grew up with her biological family in affluent Sherman Oaks, California, where she attended a private day school. The closest she had come to the projects was watching Project Runway on Bravo. Her hoax was exposed when her sister, Cyndi Hoffman, called the publisher after seeing Seltzer’s photo by a book review in the New York Times—which praised the book as a “humane and deeply affecting memoir.”
Even when caught red-handed, Seltzer claimed to be serving a greater good: “I thought it was my opportunity to put a voice to people who people don’t listen to.” She said others had told her “you should speak for us because nobody else is going to let us in to talk.” Admitting it was “an ego thing,” she explained, “I don’t know. I just felt that there was good that I could do and there was no other way that someone would listen to it.”7
Also in 2008, a Holocaust memoir published in 1997 was exposed as a hoax. In the book, Misha: A Mémoire of the Holocaust Years, Misha Defonseca described her parents being arrested and deported by the Nazis when she was six years old. She wrote that she went to live with the De Wael family, who gave her the name “Monique,” but she so missed her parents that she embarked on a trans-European trek to find them. Wandering alone throughout Europe, she said she killed a German soldier, was sheltered by a pack of wolves, and saw a train full of Jews headed for the death chamber. So her story was believable.
The memoir was a smash bestseller in Europe and Canada and was on its way to a triumphant success in the United States with both Oprah and Disney expressing interest in the book. But a money dispute with the publisher delayed negotiations—and in the meantime the book was exposed as a fraud.
Defonseca really had been born “Monique De Wael,” a Belgian Catholic, whose parents were arrested and later executed by the Nazis for being part of the Belgian Catholic resistance. Defonseca had never gone in search of her parents. To the contrary, she renounced the name of her brave Nazi-resisting parents, saying she had “wanted to forget” her real name since she was four years old because she had been called “daughter of a traitor” after her parents were arrested. She added that all her life she “felt Jewish . . . it was my reality, my way of surviving.”8 In short, she did everything she could think of to sound more Jewish but complain about being seated too close to the air conditioner.
Another award-winning Holocaust memoir, Binjamin Wilkomirski’s Fragments: Memories of a Wartime Childhood, was published in 1995 and—although it was never an official selection of Oprah’s Book Club—was exposed as a hoax by 1999. Wilkomirski claimed to have survived Nazi concentration camps as a small boy, drawing gruesome tales of watching his mother die, rats crawling out of dead bodies, and children eating their own fingers. Genealogists later established that he was the illegitimate child of a Protestant woman, and he had spent the war years safely ensconced in Switzerland with his adoptive parents.
This literary Munchausen syndrome produces Jewish girls trying to be black and gentiles claiming to be Jewish Holocaust survivors. So naturally, when a con artist threesome sought fame and fortune in America, they invented a young fiction author by the name of JT LeRoy, who was a cross-dressing child prostitute, drug addict, vagrant, and AIDS victim. Among the fake transgendered prostitute’s celebrity entourage were Lou Reed, Courtney Love, Winona Ryder, Carrie Fisher, Tatum O’Neal, Debbie Harry, Madonna, and Liv Tyler—all of whom, when assembled under one roof, conveniently constitute a quorum for a 12-step meeting.
The con artist LeRoy explained his attraction to celebrities, saying, “Artists want to hang out with other artists because that’s the language they talk”9—which may have been the truest thing “he” said. The nonexistent LeRoy was celebrated in a glamorous write-up in Vanity Fair, a glowing profile in the New York Times, and a song, “Cherry Lips,” by Shirley Manson—a trio of honors known in the Hamptons as a “hat trick.” A fawning piece in the Boston Globe said of LeRoy’s hard-luck stories, the “perversity of religious fundamentalists is a near constant in American gothic writing.”10 Everything always changes, except the avant-garde, which is always the same.
From the Hardcover edition.