Category Archives: Etiquette

Letters From South Africa

Colonialism, English, Ethics, Etiquette, History, Morality, Old Right, Paleolibertarianism, Political Correctness, South-Africa, The Zeitgeist

Manners are much more than a veneer. The ability to act courteously, professionally, and be mindful of etiquette in dealing with others is a reflection of something far more meaningful: one’s mettle. Columnist George Will once wrote that “manners are the practice of a virtue. The virtue is called civility, a word related—as a foundation is related to a house—to the word civilization.”

I began writing commentary in 1998, for an outstanding, hardcore, Canadian community newspaper (which was bought out and brought to its knees by the pinko-neocon media chain that monopolizes opinion in that country). Ever since, I’ve replied to almost every letter received from readers, unless abusive, or unless exchanges became—or become; as this obtains today—self-defeating, unproductive or sapping in any way.

In any event, letters from South Africans are especially precious. Although I’ve done my share (at a cost, professional and personal) for the people I’ve left behind in the Old Country, one is forever plagued by (irrational) survivor’s guilt. Letters help assuage this nagging (irrational) feeling.

This one comes from a man whose identity (shared in the missive) I’ve removed for his own safety:

From:
Sent: Friday, August 30, 2013 2:23 AM
To: ilana@ilanamercer.com
Subject: APPRECIATION INTO THE CANNIBALS POT

Dear Ilana,

I cannot tell you how I got hold of the title of your book “Into the Cannibal’s Pot”. After having read an abstract I immediately decided to order the book. It wasn’t available in the —– Branch (—-, Pretoria) of Exclusive books and I had to wait a week for it. Since then I cannot wait for evening time so that I can lay my eyes on the book.
We are bombarded every day with apartheid and the despicable aspects thereof. And I am the first to admit that it was wrong and that it led to so much sufferings among the black people in South Africa. And government ministers and other officials cannot wait to attribute every inefficiency/misconduct and whatever, to the “evil” of Apartheid. The whole (dark and hopeless) Africa uses colonialism as an alibi for their inefficiency.
What is never said or mentioned is the benefits that colonialism brought for the SA or the continent.

In your book you made mention of the fact that Dr Verwoerd in 1956 said that SA blacks have the best life compared to any African country. I whole-heartedly agree and I once wrote an article which was placed in Rapport about this matter. In fact, with the abrupt power transfer, so many things just “…FELL FROM HEAVEN” for them: High salaries, fringe benefits and whatever. Apart from that they got a country with good infrastructure and numerous other things (which is degenerating day by day). I don’t have to tell you!

But I just want to thank you for this book. For so long I have been waiting for somebody with the guts to have a balanced view. I still refer people to view what is happening in the only (two) African countries which never experience colonialism, namely Liberia and Ethiopia. Liberia is the third poorest country on earth. And Ethiopia is not far from there. Just imagine what SA would have been without colonialism.

It is time my black brothers start acknowledging what benefits it brought to SA. But I know it will never happen because their alibi (and that of the whole Africa) will fall flat. Who will they have to blame then?

I am 60 years old now, ILana. I grew up extremely poor and I had to pay for my own studies. Today I have a BA, BA(Hons) and MBA. I was an officer in the SA Army until 1996 when I took a severance package as a Colonel. I know how much integrity we had in the system. And I am glad that I was part of the “old” system.

Again thanks for your book. You must be an amazing human being.

Best regards

Note: My apology for my poor command of English. I am a boertjie! [Afrikaner]


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

Mum’s The Word About The Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex

Conservatism, Critique, Ethics, Etiquette, Government, Healthcare, Military, Morality, Republicans

Mark Levin the radio Mouth could be heard inveighing against what is surely a sickening specter: “Healthcare lobbying on K Street.” As The Hill divulged:

More than 30 former administration officials, lawmakers and congressional staffers who worked on the healthcare law have set up shop on K Street since 2010.
Major lobbying firms such as Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock, The Glover Park Group, Alston & Bird, BGR Group and Akin Gump can all boast an Affordable Care Act insider on their lobbying roster — putting them in a prime position to land coveted clients.
“When [Vice President] Biden leaned over [during the signing of the healthcare law] and said to [President] Obama, ‘This is a big f’n deal,’ ” said Ivan Adler, a headhunter at the McCormick Group, “he was right.”
Veterans of the healthcare push are now lobbying for corporate giants such as Delta Air Lines, UPS, BP America and Coca-Cola, and for healthcare companies including GlaxoSmithKline, UnitedHealth Group and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

This, no doubt, is ANC-style corruption; the stuff of banana republics, carried out with considerable aplomb and within the bounds of what is considered The Law.

You won’t hear conservatives like Mark Levin protesting or even mentioning the tentacles of The Thing that enervates every corner of the American government, economy, foreign policy, you name them: the military-industrial-Congressional complex, where corruption and “influence peddling” are the order of the day.

Over to the formidable Chuck Spinney:

… SPINNEY: Right. Let’s say I’m the program manager for the F-16 in the Pentagon. I get a call from one of my wholly owned subsidiaries over on the Hill on the armed services committee. “We got it funded for you guys, but those guys in the House are gonna screw us.” So you know, “You got to do something.”

So all I have to do is I call up the program manager at the prime contractor, who I know because I work with him on a daily basis. And say, “Hey, we got a problem.

“The House is gonna kill our program. The Senate’s on board. Turn on the pressure.” Well, at that point, I don’t have to do anything in the government. The rest of it takes care of itself because the people whose future it…are at hand are gonna work overtime to solve that.

The contractors then start calling up the subcontractors. They unleash the fax attacks. They unleash the emails. And then of course they start calling the lobbyists, the Gucci shoe crowd on K Street, and say, “Hey, you got to start beating the… beating the pavement in the halls of Congress. We need some newspaper op-eds.” The whole process takes care of itself. One phone call turns it on.

MOYERS: Who gets the money?

SPINNEY: The contractors get it. The Congressmen get it, you know through… they get the power because they keep getting voted back in office. They may also get some Congressional contributions. But I think the bigger benefit is the power, the stability of their job.

And remember the people in the Pentagon that are promoting this thing are basically… they’re also creating a situation where they can roll over and get into that sector and make the big bucks. All you have to do is look at the number of retired generals working for defense contractors.

MOYERS: The revolving door?

SPINNEY: Yeah, yeah. The revolving door.

… Over in the Pentagon, we’re not holding people accountable.

I think basically here is you have in Congress the oversight committees for defense, which are essentially the armed services committee. And the defense appropriations subcommittees in both houses are so tied in to the Pentagon and the defense contractor base that essentially oversight has been displaced by what some of us call overlook. They’re basically watching the money flow out the door and encouraging it to go.

And basically it’s in members of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s best interest to keep the money flowing. It’s in the Pentagon’s best interest to keep the money flowing.

MOYERS: Because?

SPINNEY: It’s in the defense contractors’ best interest to keep the money flowing. Because it’s the military industrial Congressional complex and this is their way of life. They live on the money flow.

MOYERS: The military industrial Congressional complex?

SPINNEY: Right. Which I believe was a term that Eisenhower considered using in his speech, but he dropped the reference to Congress.

MORE WITH MOYERS.


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

Paula Deen, Tell ‘Em All To Go To Hell

Conservatism, English, Etiquette, Free Speech, Political Correctness, Pop-Culture, Race

“Paula Deen, Tell ‘Em All To Go To Hell” is the current column, now on WND. An excerpt:

“…Blaming Old-South culture—as the prototypical knaves of conservatism are doing— is … unlikely to help exculpate Paula Deen in the minds of the morons who judge her for her words, rather than for her deeds. The bad old South macro-narrative is as ineffective in mitigation as is pointing out that Deen misspoke because of a near-death experience. ‘A black man [once] burst into the bank that I was working at and put a gun to my head,’ recounted Deen. ‘I didn’t feel real favorable towards him.’

It is for the same reason that the young mother, seen here in a video gone viral being kicked and punched repetitively and mercilessly by a burly black man, should watch her words in the future. The home of the mom was invaded by the man, who delighted in brutalizing her in front of her toddler.

Instead of sticks and stones that break bones, there can be no doubt that the mother from Millburn, N.J., would have settled during that terrifying attack for the kind of cuss words that ‘will never hurt me’—’cracker,’ to quote Trayvon Martin, RIP.

But those who watched the persecution of the mom from Millburn and the tycoon from Georgia took away a different lesson than the one implied by that wise old adage.

Mind your mouth, mom! The hate crime you endured will not mitigate or explain any future slip-of-the-tongue. You may stereotype an elderly, highly successful white woman, based on her tribe’s past wrongdoing; but you dare not attach statistical significance to the misdeeds of a black man, because of his group’s considerable contribution to crime. …”

Read the complete column. “Paula Deen, Tell ‘Em All To Go To Hell” is now on WND.

If you’d like to feature this column, WND’s longest-standing, exclusive paleolibertarian column, in or on your publication (paper or pixels), contact ilana@ilanamercer.com.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION:

At the WND Comments Section. Scroll down and “Say it.”

On my Facebook page.

By clicking to “Like,” “Tweet” and “Share” this week’s “Return To Reason” column

Discuss the column on Facebook.


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

Anti-Apartheid Does Not Mean Pro-Democracy

Democracy, Ethics, Etiquette, Individual Rights, Morality, South-Africa

Miguel write:

Mrs Mercer:

I purchased your book Into the Cannibal’s Pot and have just started reading it.

From your book and other sources on your website, I understand that you and your family (particularly your father) held an anti-apartheid stance.

Your book however, describes the current situation in SA, particularly after the multi-racial, democratic elections of 1994, as having resulted in a borderline lawless state.

My question to you is: Did you believe, prior to 1994, that the an end to the apartheid regime would bring a more beneficial political and quality of life process to SA.

Thanking you advance

It goes without saying that I make a point of replying to almost all letters I get, provide they’re polite. Thousands, since I began writing. As George Will once wrote, “manners are the practice of a virtue. The virtue is called civility, a word related—as a foundation is related to a house—to the word civilization.”

I’ll address in a future post the issue of what failing to answer your mail says about you. For now, here’s my reply to Miguel:

Hello Miguel,

Thank you for reading Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa.

I believe that nowhere in my book do I state the belief below. Moreover, from the fact that I oppose state-enforced apartheid—it does not follow that I support what I call in The Cannibal, a “raw, ripe democracy.”

By the end of the book, you will better understand this perspective. My involvement in SA as a young woman was humanitarian, not political.

You are correct in your assessment of my father’s thinking.

ILANA Mercer


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

UPDATED: RT Reminds Me That Some Media Know How To Interview (If You Want An Interview…Read On)

Etiquette, Ilana Mercer, Ilana On Radio & TV, Intelligence, Journalism, Media, Objectivism, Politics, Pop-Culture

The Barnum & Bailey Circus of American public life is on display today with the coronation of King Tut, down to the identity group freak shows. My, my, how far we’ve fallen as a culture.

Bring back the vomitorium says I (I am well aware that the concept is misrepresented, but the misrepresentation is worth retaining. It’s a good one).

I have been able to avoid some of the solipsistic orgy over Obama—to say nothing of the obscene platitudes and paradoxes: The Ass With Ears spoke of “Preserving our individual freedoms” through “require[d] collective action.” Moron.

This morning, I gave a prerecorded interview to RT (Russia Today TV, where my Paleolibertarian Column features). It was a pleasant, polite, intellectually stimulating, and professionally conducted exchange.

Ideas were the focus, not personalities. It always is this way with RT.

My RT experience has been vastly different from my experience with American hosts. How? Well, the RT producer’s starting point is a familiarity with and interest in some of the work written by the interviewed individual. She’ll point out which aspects piqued her curiosity, what she’d like to explore on air, etc.

Wow. Intellectual curiosity and courtesy: What old-fashioned concepts!

On the other hand, inquiries stateside invariably begin with the host’s persona and perspective. As follows:

US host: “Like, hey, We want to interview you.”
Ilana: “Sure, what about?”
US host: “Check us out on YouTube. We don’t read.”

You are expected to come on a show and rap, move your mouth. If you’re as chatty and as self-absorbed as your hosts invariably are, then all’s copacetic. But if you’re a person who tends to use words sparingly and with attempted precision, you’re out of luck.

When my daughter was seven-years old, her school assigned her the task of describing her parents. On her father, daddy’s darling heaped unrealistic praise. For her devoted mother, this perceptive chatterbox of a child reserved a matter-of-fact appraisal. “My mother,” she wrote in her girly cursive, “is a quiet woman who speaks mainly when she has something to say.”

To that my friend, writer Rob Stove, responded: “If everyone rationed speech thus, the entire mainstream punditocracy would cease to exist.”

Amen.

If he’s having a good day, your host may just exhibit a limited interest in you, not in your output, by sending you some obscure link or file that has caught his attention. The idea is that his inner world and current preoccupations should become your own.

In any event, if you want to interview me, do as RT does: Check out and choose a topic from my weekly output.

UPDATE (Jan. 21, 2013): The interview was on RT’s “The Truthseeker.” The process was fun and professional. The end result not ideal, as the sound conked-out on me and only a short snippet was harvested from the lengthy interview. There’s always a next time.


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

UPDATED: Meanness Shines Through The Shock

America, Etiquette, Family, Media, Pop-Culture, The Zeitgeist

This is one of those things one gets into trouble for noticing and pointing out. So I’ll go ahead and point it out, ’cause—boy!—did I notice it.

Gene Rosen, “a 69-year-old retired psychologist… took … four girls and two boys” from the Sandy Hook Elementary school into his home near the school, shortly after the shooting.

Rosen said he had heard the staccato sound of gunfire about 15 minutes earlier but dismissed it as an obnoxious hunter in the nearby woods.
“I had no idea what had happened,” Rosen said. “I couldn’t take that in.”
He walked the children past his small goldfish pond with its running waterfall, and the garden he made with his two grandchildren, into the small yellow house he shares with his wife.
He ran upstairs and grabbed an armful of stuffed animals. He gave those to the children, along with some fruit juice, and sat with them as the two boys described seeing their teacher being shot.

But this good Samaritan’s offering did not quite meet the standards of one of his small guests. The boy responded with a comment Rosen thought so adorable, he “wanted to tell him, `I love you. I love you.’”

“This little boy turns around, and composes himself, and he looks at me like he had just removed himself from the carnage and he says, `Just saying, your house is very small.’”

Is that not a rude and unkind quip?

Just saying.

UPDATE (1/11): Everyone on Facebook ducked the issue of how badly behaved kids have become. Myron Pauli at least responded by changing the subject. But pretending the problem doesn’t exist is becoming harder. Fox and experts are catching up with a topic I’ve been covering since the early 2000s and before. “We are raising a generation of deluded narcissists.”


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint